Gabriola Island's geologic formation is part of the Nanaimo group of sedimentary rocks, that were formed during the Upper Cretaceous period and deposited in a shallow-to-deep basin between Vancouver Island and Mainland British Columbia.
The rocks that make up the island are basically marine sandstones and conglomerates with an average thickness of 350 metres.
Many plants recognized and named by First Nations groups were harvested and used for food, medicine or traditional technology. The grounds of the Gabriola Museum include 52 different species of plants native to the Island. Labels accompany the plants, providing their names in English and Latin. The succession of blooming times and subtle variety of flowers, fruit and foliage offers interest throughout the year, perfect for a stroll in any season. For more information on the Museum's Flora display see Native Plants, part 1and Native Plants, part 2from the pre-2009 Museum web site.
Wildlife abounds on Gabriola, both on land, in the surrounding seas, and in the air. The Museum’s wildlife exhibit features a 3-4 year old bald eagle, a 5 year old beaver, a sea otter and an owl. Children are drawn to this natural exhibit.
The ocean waters around Gabriola boast a great diversity of habitats, and a vast variety of species that have adapted to sand flats, swaying kelp beds and wave-swept rocks. The Museum display includes many artifacts from our aquatic front yard, such as sea anemones, crabs, barnacles, starfish, and a variety of shells, to name a few.