The Conservancy held its 2024 Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Saturday, April 20th at the Agricultural Hall. Many thanks are owed to Shelley Melville and Deb Foote who planned the meeting and set up the room, as well as to each of the members who attended. It’s gratifying to know the work we do continues to inspire support and goodwill in our community. We began the presentations with excerpts from my written report (included below) before I gave the floor to our Treasurer, Rob Percival, so he could cover the high points of the budget audit.

Financial Highlights

Rob Percival noted that the Gala Dinner with David Suzuki contributed $22,000 towards rebuilding the CAMAS Legacy Fund, work which began after it was drawn down for the acquisition of Edith Point in 2022. The year-end matching campaign exceeded its goal and contributed to a total of $64,000 in donations for 2023. It is important to note that these funds directly support the Conservancy’s projects, and our work is funded by a combination of donations and grants. To keep everything running, our staff apply for grants each year. The Conservancy’s relationships with both governmental and non-governmental granting bodies go both ways.

Biologist’s Presentation

Following the financial discussion, our Senior Biologist Rob Underhill gave a comprehensive presentation featuring photographs of many Conservancy projects. These included:

  • Henderson Park, where a healthy relationship with the Parks Commission based on communication and trust has proven to be very effective over the life of this decade-long project.
  • Mt Parke Regional Park (including Mary Jeffery Park) where invasive plants where removed.
  • St John Point Regional Park, where staff and volunteers are engaged in restoring natural vegetation to portions of the property impacted by past land uses. The fenced area created in 2022 near Kadonaga Bay is off to an excellent start following planting with the Mayne School students.
  • Bennett Bay Park (Gulf Islands National Park Reserve), where staff and volunteers planted another 100 trees at the top of the field, and 100 trees and shrubs in the existing exclosure. Parks Canada contributed funding to cover the cost of this work.
  • Hedgerow Farm, where the wetland restoration is going very well. Plants, birds, and animals are returning, and some are appearing that we were not previously aware of.  Beavers are also damming the outflow from the wetland and expanding the flooded area.
  • The new Ethnobotany Garden next to the Thrift Store, where the drawbacks of a disturbed site are offset by the presence of a natural spring. This project is much more than a garden, it is a notable example of reconciliation action.
  • Public programs for students at the school and daycare, Family Nature Explorations, Beach cleanup Day, May Day celebrations, and more. In addition to these activities, Michael Dunn manages a bat monitoring program which will result in a set of baseline data about the existing bat populations. So far, this project has identified the presence of eight species on Mayne Island.
  • An update on nearshore monitoring programs for eelgrass and Bull Kelp. The Conservancy continues to coordinate the Southern Gulf Islands Bull Kelp Monitoring Collaboration on behalf of partners on other islands.

Re-Election of Directors

After Rob’s presentation, five incumbent directors were re-elected for a further two-year term, and the meeting was adjourned.

For those who couldn’t attend the AGM in person, I’ve included my President’s report below.

President’s AGM Report

The Conservancy celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2023, kicking off the year with a Vision for 2033 which reads as follows:

The Conservancy will play a leadership role in protecting 30 percent of Mayne Island through land acquisitions, landholder agreements, partnerships, and mitigating the fallow deer. problem.

Although the amount of protected land is currently just under 10 percent, the community is already responding to this challenge, and we are on track to meet the goals set out in our strategic plan. As part of the anniversary celebration, we distributed patches and pins featuring Rough-skinned Newt mascot and on September 18th and held a memorable Gala dinner at the Mayne Island Community Centre with Doctor David Suzuki as the guest speaker.

It was another busy year for the Conservancy’s staff-led projects and was the second year we maintained two full-time paid staff, as well as a 6-month summer intern position, giving us the capacity to maintain and expand our habitat restoration work, public and youth education, landholder consultation, native plant nursery, and shoreline care programs. We now manage invasive plants across 242 acres of public parks and have nine fenced restoration sites where more intensive restoration includes 500 new trees and shrubs planted in the past year.

Our native plant nursery continues to be an important source of plant material for restoration projects and for landholders restoring their own properties. Last summer we created a fenced area behind our office for native plant sales and as a meeting space for staff and volunteers.

The landholder consultation program remains popular, with 23 consultations over the past year, and a growing number of landholders are now carrying out their own restoration projects. Our education programs are back to full capacity, with over 1,000 people attending 28 public events, and our Stewardship Coordinator Justine leading 34 nature lessons with the Mayne School, Mayne Island Early Childhood Society, and Family Nature Explorations program. In the marine realm, we are continuing to lead the Southern Gulf Islands Bull Kelp Monitoring Collaboration on behalf of five partner organizations with 33 kayakers spending 178 hours on the water monitoring 17 sites from Valdes to Saturna last year. This year our kelp data contributed to a scientific publication that describes changes in canopy forming kelps across British Columbia. Our staff completed dive eelgrass surveys at nine sites which continue to document the decline in this important ecosystem. Citizen Scientists of all ages were engaged in the Dungeness crab monitoring program, which is a BC-wide monitoring program led by the Hakai Institute.

Our communications team was busy as well, publishing 72 articles on our website, which more than 54 thousand people visited this past year. On behalf of our staff, I’d like to extend our sincere thanks to the volunteers who helped make these projects successful. Another notable project that came to fruition in 2023 is the Ethnobotany Garden, part of the “Walking Forward with the Past” project, which is a joint initiative of the Conservancy, the Agricultural Society, the Campbell Bay Music Festival and the PEPÁKEN HÁUTW Foundation. We began construction of the garden in June and completed it at the end of October, with additional work over the next few months to satisfy permit requirements. The team held a W̱SÁNEĆ Art and Ethnobotany Celebration on November 9th to celebrate the garden along with the new outdoor murals next to the museum.

At the end of September, I was delighted to represent the Conservancy at an event on Saturna Island hosted by SIMRES (Saturna Island Marine Research Society) and theSGIWSN (Southern Gulf Island Whale Sightings Network). The Whale of a Time Party included presentations on the kelp forests, whale sighting and their ongoing efforts to manage the noise associated with boat traffic near Boundary Pass.

On November 3rd the Conservancy held an Extraordinary General Meeting via Zoom to put forward a Special Resolution to add a Lifetime Membership category to the bylaws. The Motion was carried, and we have sold over 50 Lifetime Memberships since early January. Community members often tell us that it’s a relief not to have to think about expiry dates, and to know their relationship with the Conservancy will continue for as long as they want it to!

We will continue to build on this work over the next year, conserving land and engaging the community in our projects large and small. I am honoured to serve as President of the Mayne Island Conservancy and look forward to May Day and the many summer activities to follow. In the meantime, it’s most important to take this opportunity to thank the many, many. community members and volunteers who make our work possible.


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