Tag Archives: sara ross

This exciting new program brings the values of Nature and Forest school to younger kids and families, right in east Vancouver.  In this small, consistent group we will explore outside together through a combination of child-led play and facilitated activities.

Join us as we develop our sense of
place and belonging through sense-appreciation, connection, and play.


Still Life by Misha


AGE: 1.5 to 2.5 years
DAY & TIME: Mondays from 10am to 11:30am
DATES: Oct 17, 24, 31, Nov 7, 21, 28 (Rain or Shine, but will be cancelled due to Environment Canada Weather Warning*)
WHERE: Cottonwood Community Garden in Strathcona Park, Malkin Ave.
COST: Sliding scale $0 – $120, recommended fee $60.


Class size limited to 7 toddlers.  Parent/caregiver participation is essential.  It may be possible to include older siblings, please talk to facilitator.

Parent philosophy is based on following your child’s curiosity, plus developing your own nature sensory awareness so that you can help highlight what is happening in the moment.  We will all learn together.

Facilitated by mom Sara Ross, with Misha (1.5 years).  Sara is a former lead instructor with Soaring Eagle Nature School.  She loves to share her passion for birds, sensory engagement, and being outside with kids of all ages.


Some of the myriad things we may get up to:
Pouring, Piling, Wondering
Looking: observing and discerning recognizable patterns.
Running, Smashing, Jumping,
Relational skills, A bit of circle discipline,
Singing, Sitting, Silliness, etcetera!


To Register (or with Questions) please email

PLEASE Include the following information:

  1. your child’s name
  2. your child’s date of birth
  3. any known allergies your child has
  4. your name
  5. any known allergies you have
  6. your cell phone number
  7. how and how much you would like to pay (e-transfer, check, cash) NOTE please do not send payment until you receive confirmation that there is still space in the program.
  8. Confirm acceptance of Liability: you will be asked to sign a waiver on the first day of program stating that you accept full responsibility for yourself and your child during this outdoor program.


*Cancellation. This program will run Rain or Shine.  We expect that one session may need to be cancelled due to an Environment Canada Weather Warning.  If more than one session must be cancelled we will add one session in December.

What to wear: please be sure to dress yourself and your child for outdoor activities.  This means a waterproof outer layer, waterproof footwear, warm socks, gloves hat scarf as needed.  Fleece and wool are recommended rather than cotton for our cool, damp local climate.

Please bring a snack. We will advise you if there are any food allergies to avoid.  In the spirit of nature connection please choose a snack with no disposable packaging if possible.

Timing. This is a short program so please do your best to arrive 5 to 10 minutes before start time to get dressed etc.  That said, it’s ok to be late if necessary.


In less than a week Team Birds Not Bitumen has become one of the
TOP   TEN   fundraising   teams!    of the Baille Birdathon.  Thank you heart-lifting friends.  And outward like ripples, several people have forwarded the resource section from my last BLOG post.  A friend sent this new song.

…Read on for BIG DAY REPORT and my photos from the day.

Lupine flowers and snail

It is not too late to give. Please do!
Generosity is a life-affirming practice,
and it will make you feel GREAT.



Birds Not Bitumen Big Day Report

On May 21 (fueled by delicious food) Team Birds Not Bitumen raced by bicycle and public transit to spot as many bird species as they could in a 24 hour period.

75 bird species seen,
17 hours,
Approx 85 km
by bike and public transit.
first bird of the day:
American Robin at 4:20 am

WHY?  Because we love birds, and they don’t have a voice at the fossil fuel development table.  AND we don’t have to accept the status quo, even tho we all participate in it to some degree.  AND because doing something and taking action feels great,  and as I said in my last post, taking action beyond the self fulfills our deep need for meaning and purpose.


donate NOW to Team Birds Not Bitumen
raising money for bird conservation.

donate NOW to Tsleil Waututh’s Sacred Trust Initiative raising money to protect Burrard Inlet.




i'm an oystercatcher.  
i live near the Ferry 
Terminal and also around 
the Stanley Park seawall.

learn more
get involved
give money even 5 bucks


 The Team in action & sleeping

3Teammorning team2Team




sleep seabussleep lookout towersleep with geese


Bird highlights include

  • 6 species of swallows: Aerial Insectivores!
  • Townsend’s Solitaire: elusive and rare for us
  • Ethereal song of the Swainson’s Thrush
  • Caspian Terns Colony diving head first into ocean
  • Heron rookery sounding like 800 type-writers
  • Funny-looking oyster catchers (see pic above)
  • And a glowing red-throated hummingbird.

[LINK to full ebird list of sightings]


Carbon Export mega-projects we saw

birds in the shadow of Deltaport

Reifel Bird Sanctuary’s spectacular estuary habitat in the shadow of Deltaport

US Thermal Coal passing through Delta for export to foreign markets.

US Thermal Coal passing through Delta for export to foreign markets. Who benefits from this?

Χ proposed 700% increase in tar sands tanker traffic in pristine BC waters.
Χ increases to Thermal Coal shipments through Surrey and Texada Island.
Χ building any more infrastructure for carbon-export. ISSUES OVERVIEW

and Χ I don’t even know what to say about so-called-natural gas… isn’t methane (main component of LNG) 21 times more harmful as a greenhouse gas than CO2?

Chevron Refinery with flame, Kinder Morgan transfer location also lit to the left of the refinery

Chevron Refinery with flame, Kinder Morgan transfer location also lit to the left of the refinery. Photo taken pre-dawn from Maplewood Flats Bird Conservation Area.

oil tanker from the seabus

Oil / chemical tanker seen from seabus crossing


Actions I recommend:

1. Subscribe to the Clean Energy Review, a weekly email newsletter of the 10 most interesting climate and clean energy updates from across Canada and around the world.  Short, snappy, cutting edge.

2. Look at this art project and get inspired about myriad ways for action.  Making the right choices about our energy future begins with the right conversation.

3. Donate to the Tsleil Waututh’s Sacred Trust Initiative.  Or learn more about other groups who are awesome who you can get involved with or give money to.

4. My friend DJ is working against the proposed increase in tanker traffic in our harbour.  Would you be willing to work with her as part of a team that collects signatures and recruits more volunteers?  Meeting this Thursday night, May 29 at 7:30pm in east Vancouver.  (Email me for the address.)  The regional Coordinator for this volunteer initiative will be explaining how to get involved.  In this case, the biggest thing is to make personal contacts and ask people to sign a pledge form against the increase in tanker traffic.  This can be done among your friends, neighbours, colleagues.

5. Super geekfest: learn more about the port of Metro Vancouver, the different exports and capacities of many of the terminals.

6. and if you are still reading, please recognize this opportunity to practice your generosity in this moment:

give to Team Birds Not Bitumen
and help keep us in the top 10!

great blue herons and caspian terns near tswwassen ferry terminal

great blue herons (top) and caspian terns (bottom) near tswwassen ferry terminal


click to enlarge

when humans work together you can save creatures like me from historic DDT poisioning that almost made us extinct. Thank you.

When humans work together you can save Eagles like me from historic DDT poisoning that almost made us extinct. Thank you. Carry on bravely with love.

The view overlooking Cowichan Bay.

view overlooking Cowichan Bay and the Salish Sea.

←→invitation to participate←→
Bicycle Buddha Adventure 2014

Sunday May 11 to Sunday May 18, 2014
or smaller portions thereof…

A 3 to 5 to 8 day Community Bike Ride that combines:
• mindfulness practice,
• nature connection,
• easy-level bicycle touring,
• community practice, and
• fun!



beautiful trails, lots of car-free riding.

Travel by bicycle in gorgeous unfolding spring.

Meet yourself on two wheels and ride free.  This 3 or 5 or 8 day ride welcomes peope who are new to bicycle touring with manageable distances and lots of snack and stretch breaks.  Regular city riders, as well as those with experience touring are all welcome.  Likely we’ll be a group of 8 to 12 riders, rolling as a group.

Bicycle Buddha 2012 campsite near Metchosin, Vancouver Island

Bicycle Buddha 2012 campsite near Metchosin, Vancouver Island

Immerse yourself in natural beauty as we ride the shores of the Salish Sea and Sooke.

Living outside is a treat, especially at this fresh new time of year.  We’ll practice meditation outside daily, deepening our nature connection.

Sara's foot on pebble beach

walk on the earth that supports us all

Mindfully connect.  Authentically meet the world as it is, as YOU are.

Traveling by bicycle helps us connect directly with both the outside world, and the world within us.  We’ll practice riding in noble silence.  Connection and mindfulness can come easily, especially on Vancouver Islands’ famous Galloping Goose and Lochside rail-to-trail routes which are mostly car-free.

Bicycle Buddha 2012 camping oceanside

Bicycle Buddha 2012 camping oceanside by surprise

Embrace your journey and challenges within a supportive community. 

Our aim is that we wholeheartedly bring ourselves and offer our gifts, each contributing according to our abilities.  Together we roll in mutual support, sharing meals, skills, laughter, stories, mindfulness practice, and of course… fun!

Bicycle Buddha 2012 at Victoria Zen Centre

Bicycle Buddha participants 2012 at Victoria Zen Centre, feat Kosen Eshu Osho

-About the Organizers Roshin (aka Carmen Mills) and RedSara

Contact us with questions and excitements!!!
Use this form or send an email to redsara -at-
More details below.

Bicycle Buddha water crossing

Bicycle Buddha water crossing

Everything you wanted to know about the
Bicycle Buddha Adventure, May 2014

Building on the successful experience of the Bicycle Buddha Adventure of July 2012, where folks jumped in to participate fully in a 5-day bike trip, and it was so great that we kept touring together even after our planned portion was finished… we are THRILLED TO OFFER:

• mindfulness practice,
• nature connection,
• easy-level bicycle touring,
• community practice, and
• fun!

We’ll be camping, and will have access to yummy local food along the way.  We’ll become a rolling community, feeding ourselves collectively and sharing roles amongst us, all contributing our strengths within a planned framework.  Guessing we’ll be 8 – 10 people total.  We will ride approx 250 to 300km over the 5 to 8 days (don’t be intimidated; with lots of stops to stretch and snack, it is not a gruelling schedule).  Some folks who are already committed to the tour are looking forward to riding mindfully in noble silence.

Sunday May 11 to Thursday May 15: Vancouver to Sooke and return
Thursday,May 15 to Sunday May 18:  Salt Spring Island weekend
OR Sunday May 11 to Sunday May 18: Vancouver to Sooke plus Salt Spring Island.

Departing Vancouver early on the morning of Sunday, May 11, we’ll ride to Tsawwassen then hop the ferry to Vancouver Island.  We’ll ride as far as Sooke along the Lochside and Galloping Goose trails, which are fabulous rail-to-trail conversions so lots of the trip is completely car-free!  In Sooke we’ll be hosted at the Victoria Zen Centre by the inspiring Zen Abbot and Osho named Kosen Eshu Martin, and his family… and they literally live up a mountain at the edge of the Sooke Basin.  After a few days to relax, practice meditation or exploration, and enjoy the ocean we’ll roll out again towards Metchosin, and weather permitting we’ll do a full moon hike.  Next day we’ll turn North and bike together towards Salt Spring Island.

Depending on who we are, there is a possibility the ride will split into two sections.  This happened on our first trip, and was good.  One portion would ride directly to Salt Spring, retracing our tracks on the Lochside bike path.  The other portion would enjoy a new route to Salt Spring via Cowichan, a longer ride that would involve another night of camping on the road before arriving on Salt Spring Island.  This is just a guess, and what we do depends on who is present and what our wishes are at the time.


What about joining us for the Salt Spring Island portion of the trip?  This could look like getting yourself and your bike to the Tsawwassen ferry, riding to Schwartz Bay and meeting up with the Tour at the Ferry Terminal.  Together we would travel by ferry over to Salt Spring Island.  The ride from the Ferry to Ruckle Park is only 9km, but it is a hilly 9km on roads that are quite narrow.  Car traffic is present on this section of the Tour.


The plans continue to unfold for the Salt Spring half of the trip… with enough interest we could find ourselves camping together and immersing in the natural world at Ruckle Park, and connecting with existing Sangha on the island, as well as with our own rolling sangha for the weekend.


The skills of participants, whoever you are, will shape what we do.  We each offer our gifts and skills to the group, and together we learn.

sooke basin beauty

fog, sun and sooke basin beauty


  • We’ll be tenting.
  • Mostly we will ride in noble silence.
  • Dharma/mindfulness discussions amongst peers (informal, but intentional).
  • Daily morning stretching / outdoor sit in forest.
  • Schedule that we develop and modify as needed, striving for a container for practice.
  • Shared meals co-created on a rotating schedule.
  • Riding 40 – 60km per day, this is an accessible distance if you ride fairly regularly in the city
  • Meeting up with local dharma groups for a sit now and then, or they meet up with us where we are.
  • Possibility of story-sharing in the evenings.
  • Opportunity to be free from technological distraction for the trip duration.
  • 2012 Bicycle Buddha was awesome, and happened in July.  May is earlier, fresher, maybe we’ll experience some rain?
  • etc!

$40 to $70 ferry costs, depending on route.
$90 (estimate) for 6 nights camping.
$80 for food for the trip.
optional dana (donation) for coordination, logistics, etc

a bicycle in good working order, equipped for touring, including a minimum of 2 panniers
a tent (although there may be a possibility to share), plus other sleeping gear
stiff-soled shoes for riding
commitment to participating in our co-created community
We will be carrying all of our camping gear, no ‘sag wagon’ – so you should be of sound health and prepared to carry 20-30 lbs on your bike.

Organizers have done lots of bike camping and can offer plenty of guidance and support for novice bike tourers, and this is designed to be an intro-level tour.  If you ride regularly this should be a manageable experience for you.


Please get in touch soon!
Sara (redsara @ is available to chat and discuss any details, questions, doubts, etc!  Roshin Carmen will also be available intermittently (carmen @

About the Organizers

RedSara is deeply into nature connection, bikes and meditation.  She is excited to share her fire for the natural world and our connection to it, and especially loves birds.  She brings her experience with collectives and collective living to help our community connect and thrive in the time we are together.  She is also an artist, educator and community organizer.

Roshin (aka Carmen) has recently returned from six months of residential practice and service at Upaya Zen Centre, where she was given her new name: Roshin, by Roshi Joan Halifax in a Jukai ceremony.  Carmen is a writer, buddhist practitioner, biker, designer, events producer, and instigator of amazing projects.  Read her latest on her blog

Together Roshin (aka Carmen) and RedSara have worked on various Bicycle Buddha related projects, including the original Bicycle Buddha Adventure in 2012.  They helped found ZenYU: Young Urban Zen which is a weekly meditation practice group for young-identified folks in the Vancouver area.

The organizers are committed to ensuring:
• a clear route,
• organized details such as ferry times and ride distances,
• camping locations and logistics,
• fresh water,
• food sourcing,
• connections with other mindfulness practice groups,
• support for a mindful practice container,
• meditation support,
• nature connection support,
• other logistics as needed.


Course Poster Gachet

creativity is like a muscle
when you work it it gets stronger

T r a n s f o r m   is a new course starting mid-February being offered as part of Gallery Gachet’s Art School.  Its purpose is to support individuals in their daily creative practice.

for self-identified artists of all abilities, including aspiring.

Note that you can attend the first session with zero obligations to complete the course.

We believe that:
  • By creating art every day we’ll improve in leaps and bounds (both technique and creative prowess).
  • By committing to your practice (and to this course) you’ll find increased confidence in your creativity, and
  • By flexing your creative muscles you’ll gain personal power to shape the world around you, from the mundane to the monumental.

To learn more about this art course please,
CLICK HERE to download Info Sheet.

Course begins Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Crow Roost Ride 2013 INVITE

for this friendly Bike Ride
on Saturday Feb 2
Meet at 4pm
Lakewood Drive at the Central Valley Greenway
(also known as North Great Northern Way).
Bring: snacks to share if you care to do so,
and maybe a hot thermos for yourself.
Remember warm clothes,
Bike Lights, and
Bring Kid-friends too.

See below for more information, and alternate start locations.

-article adapted from Renfrew Collingwood Community News, Jan 2013

So Many Crows, Where Do They Go?

The answer is to their roost on the banks of Still Creek, where Vancouver meets Burnaby. Join the Crow Roost Twilight Bike Ride on Saturday February 2nd to find out more, and to experience the famous crow roost for yourself.

“Being at the roost is a completely energizing and incredible experience”, says ride leader Sara Ross. “Last time I was there I could not believe how the birds just kept coming and coming and coming. It was as if the air above still creek became an ever-flowing river of crows, all arriving home for the night. It’s such a crow community celebration, I love it.”

Local experts estimate the number of crows spending the night at the Still Creek Roost to be upwards of 20,000 birds. Despite being pushed into ever-smaller pieces of viable roost habitat by development, crows seem to have adapted to their small piece of Still Creek near Gilmore. They return night after night and come from absolutely all over the lower mainland.

Still Creek runs from its’ headwaters near Slocan Park into Burnaby before flowing into the Fraser River. Decades of efforts to repair the once severely polluted Still Creek have been paying off, this year seeing the first sizable return of Chum Salmon.

Crows, unlike Salmon, easily thrive in the urban conditions we’ve created, favoring flat open areas similar to shoreline, which would have been their native habitat. That translates into crows loving parks, parking lots, lawns, rooftops. Crows are very smart and adaptable. They also have complex family groupings, and the adolescent birds help their parents raise the next generation of young. There is lots of cooperation.

Ross, a local artist, bird-lover, and bicycle organizer, will be leading the FREE family- friendly bicycle ride on Saturday, February 2nd to visit the crow roost. (Rain Date February 9, check for last minute ride changes and confirmation).

Travelling like a murder of crows, perhaps with some friendly chatting and squawking along the way, the Crow Roost Twilight Bike Ride will follow the path of Still Creek eastward. The route is 98% on separated bike routes along the Central Valley Greenway.

Ross says, “You can expect to be amazed by the experience of flying on your bike with the crows towards the roost, and then we’ll quiet down as we arrive. Maybe the crows will recognize us as fellow quiet flyers on our bikes?”

This ride is part of Reflecting Still Creek, a larger program created by Still Moon Arts that aims to connect people with the creek, and with our local environment by spending time near, and enjoying Still Creek. Learn more at

More Crow Info
Burnaby Now Article LINK
Vancouver Province Article LINK

Ride Details: Saturday, Feb 2
in case of rain date: Saturday Feb 9

Choose your start location

LONGER RIDE (4km one way distance): Meet at 4pm at Lakewood Drive at the Central Valley Greenway (also known as North Great Northern Way)
SHORTER RIDE (2.5km one way distance): Meet at 4:15pm outside of Renfrew Skytrain Station
Note that bikes are allowed on Skytrain for your return journey if desired. All riders and abilities are welcome on this ride.
Assistance is available for people with unique mobility needs who wish to join the ride through tandems, chariots or loaner bikes. Please inquire in advance of Ride Leader Sara Ross at
Don’t forget to bring very very warm clothing including gloves, and lights for your bike for the return journey. And if possible bring a few home-made snacks to share, and a thermos of something warm to drink for yourself?