There is no end to the number of charities that deserve our donations. And they do come knocking regularly.
Soon after I acquired a place on SḴŦAḴ (Mayne Island) the Mayne Island Conservancy came asking for big money to purchase St. John Point to create a nature reserve. And only a year or so later they accomplished that feat. What an awesome organization, I thought. They raised over $2 million in one year, and I was privileged (in a small way) to help reach that goal! I wanted to learn more about what else they are doing. It turns out a lot, and with just two full-time staff and one summer intern; the rest are volunteers!
In addition to land acquisition for conservation, the Conservancy has a host of very cool projects such as: (i) Hands-on ecology and sustainability education for youth – the kids are planting trees and shrubs at St. John’s Point in deer-proof sanctuaries; (ii) Ecological monitoring- including shoreline eelgrass and bull kelp mapping and song-bird inventory; (iii) Shoreline clean-up; (iv) Invasive species removal; (v) Access for residents to one-on-one tutorials with professional biologist, Rob Underhill, about the natural values on their properties; (vi) A nursery of native shrubs for purchase by residents and use in habitat restoration; (vii) Consulting for an ethnobotany garden under construction in collaboration with W̱SÁNEĆ elders; (viii) Re-wilding of land-tracts damaged by poor land use decisions or our over-abundant deer; and (ix) Advocacy to the provincial government to deal with the invasive fallow deer.
I had a goal in the back of my mind to join volunteer work parties, and although I’ve participated in a few, it is difficult as a part-time resident to schedule in the weekly invasive species removal gigs. Perhaps you’re in the same predicament. But one thing we can do is become monthly donors to enable the Conservancy to become even more audaciously ambitious.
Unlike many of the organizations you or I may donate to, we are directly and continually impacted by the work of the Conservancy. Because of this organization, we can hike to Mt. Parke, to St. John Point, and to Edith Point*, and our great-grandchildren will be able to do that too. Gorgeous as SḴŦAḴ is, many native plants and animals on our island are under severe stress due to loss of large predators, invasive species impacts and also due to climate change and the associated long droughts and warmer sea water. Because of the Conservancy, we can have hope that our threatened coastal Douglas Fir ecosystem will have a chance at survival, and one day our treasured arbutus seedlings, ocean spray, camas, and eelgrass will once again flourish.
At the 20th anniversary gala on September 16, I learned that the Conservancy aims to get 30% of the land mass on SḴŦAḴ into permanent protection by 2033. Now that’s a gutsy proposition! I loved it. I immediately increased my monthly donation. Please join me.
*Hiking to Edith Point was possible even before its acquisition as public lands, due to the kindness of the Graves family.