Our 20th anniversary is an opportunity to remember our roots, celebrate our achievements, and recognize the contributions of the people who helped make it all happen. Happy anniversary to all of you who have been a part of our journey!
- A small group of islanders, including Helen O’Brian, Ed Pedersen, Ann Johnston, Leslie Williams, Jonathan Chilvers, and Peter Askin, formed The Friends of Mount Parke. Only a small portion of the ridge was protected at that time in the existing CRD’s Mount Parke Park, and the goal was to acquire and protect the entire ridge in financial partnership with the CRD.
- The community campaign to raise pledges for one-third of the assessed value of the Mount Parke ridge was successful (with two-thirds to be paid by CRD Parks). BUT the owner of the property was only willing to sell the entire 240 acres.
- While our efforts to purchase the property were not successful at that time, there was now an active environmental group working together to preserve the natural beauty of Mayne.
- The Friends of Mount Parke was renamed the Mayne Island Conservancy Society to move us away from a focus on a single issue, and to reflect the educational and conservation work we were doing. Ed Pedersen became the first President of the Conservancy.
- The newly formed Conservancy also carried on the work started by the Mayne Island Naturalists, an informal group established in the 1990s by Michael Dunn.
- Working with other local groups, we published “Tread Lightly, A Guide to Living on the Island.”
- Our first May Day event was organized by Helen O’Brian and Maggi Cheetham, as a celebration of the greening of the land.
- The Conservancy became an official caretaker of the Active Pass Important Bird Area.
- Our first “Mayne Island Bird Checklist,” compiled by Michael Dunn, was published.
- Helen O’Brian became President.
- We were awarded a Vancity EnviroFund grant for our Sustainability Plan.
- Marine biologist Leanna Boyer was hired to map and monitor eelgrass and assess sand lance spawning habitat.
- Our “Walkabout” program evolved into landholder consultations.
- Miriam Isaac-Renton, our first summer staffer, was hired.
- Our website was born.
- The Conservancy started an invasive species management program including the Broom Action Team (BAT), led by Peter Askin, which engaged many volunteers to remove Scotch broom from public places and along roadsides.
- Long term habitat restoration at Henderson Park and Bennett Bay was started.
- Eelgrass around the entire coast of Mayne Island was mapped for the first time.
- Leanna Boyer became our first Executive Director (part-time) and Michael Dunn became President.
- A community bird monitoring program was established in the Active Pass Important Bird Area.
- The Conservancy was approved to receive conservation covenants by the BC government, and a small piece of land on Horton Bay was donated to the Islands Trust Fund (now Islands Trust Conservancy) as a nature reserve. We co-hold the covenant with the Habitat Acquisition Trust of Victoria, and implement the management plan. This was the first of two covenants now held by the Conservancy.
- Bull kelp was mapped around the entire coast of Mayne Island for the first time.
- Our native plant nursery was established to provide a source of locally adapted native plants for habitat restoration projects on public and private lands.
- Rob Underhill, our current biologist, was hired.
- The Conservancy rented the top floor of the “Root Seller” building in Miners Bay for our office and the Mary Jeffery resource room.
- We ramped up our partnership with the Mayne School to deliver nature education to youth. A successful partnership that continues today.
- Michael Dunn transitioned from President to volunteer Executive Director, a position he continues to hold today. Bill Warning became President.
- The Conservation, Acquisition, Management, and Stewardship fund (CAMAS) was established to continue with future land covenants and acquisitions, as well as ongoing management and stewardship programs.
- We were awarded the 2013 Islands Trust Stewardship Award for our shoreline care program, and we received a CRD EcoStar Award for our land stewardship program.
- The fallow deer problem became an issue of concern for the Conservancy. Malcolm Inglis co-moderated a public forum on the fallow deer problem, with several well-attended and passionate meetings through the summer. This resulted in the establishment of the Mayne Island Deer Committee, that is still a partner with the Conservancy today.
- The Interpretive Nature Trail at Henderson Park was completed.
- Our constitution was amended to allow the Conservancy to hold conservation covenants.
- The Conservancy completed vegetation and songbird surveys to better understand the ecological impact of deer overpopulation.
- The annual photo contest and calendar was started.
- A greenhouse was added to the native plant nursery and our demonstration garden was built at the Root Seller.
- An agreement with the Victoria Foundation to set up our Endowment Fund was signed.
- Malcolm Inglis became President.
- Helen and Malcolm developed, on behalf of the Conservancy, a comment on the Trans-Mountain Pipeline proposal, which recommended against it. Following upon this, we began a public process to advocate for enhanced oil spill response capacity throughout our region that ran into 2017. This was the first large political advocacy initiative for the Conservancy.
- The Conservancy worked with the American Friends of Canadian Conservation, CRD Parks, and with many generous donors to raise over $2 million to buy St. John Point, adding 68 acres to our covenanted land, and saving it from future development. Ann Johnston and Alan Ryder, two remarkable Conservancy volunteers who have since passed on, helped ensure the success of this project.
- The first electronic newsletter was produced which eventually became the “Oystercatcher.” The current website designed by Don Enright was launched.
- Environment and Climate Change Canada designated the Conservancy as an eligible recipient of Ecological Gifts.
- A ten-year habitat restoration plan was completed for Henderson Community Park to guide ongoing Conservancy restoration actions.
- The Edith Point Ecological Baseline Report was completed, an important early step in protecting the point.
- Malcolm Inglis became President in 2017.
- The Conservancy signed management agreements with CRD Parks for both St. John Point and Mount Parke, and we hosted a community celebration for the successful protection of St. John Point.
- We established two endowments with the Victoria Foundation: one for covenant management, and the other for legal defence of covenants.
- We broke ground on our most ambitious habitat restoration project to date at the Hedgerow Farm Wetland, with land stewards Kristine Webber and Peter Robinson.
- We completed the removal of all mature Scotch broom from the newly acquired St. John Point property.
- Staff completed mapping of priority eelgrass beds throughout the Southern Gulf Islands thanks to a partnership with the Galiano Conservancy.
- We expanded our annual bull kelp monitoring program into what is now known as the Southern Gulf Islands Regional Bull Kelp Monitoring Collaborative, which we continue to lead today.
- An additional 118 acres of land was added to Mount Parke Park, completing the original goal of the Friends of Mount Parke. This addition was purchased by CRD Parks with a $50,000 donation from the Mayne Island Conservancy.
- A ten-year habitat restoration plan was completed for St. John Point Regional Park to guide ongoing Conservancy actions.
- We created a second full-time staff position of Stewardship Coordinator to meet increasing program demand and allow us to expand our youth and public education programs.
- The Conservancy actively engaged in advocacy on overabundant fallow deer.
- Edith Point was purchased and preserved by the Nature Conservancy of Canada thanks to the generosity of the Graves family. The Mayne Island Conservancy contributed $550,000, which included monies from our CAMAS fund and gifts from a few generous private donors.
- Our Indigenous Relations Committee was established to support the Conservancy in building strong community to community relationships with Indigenous communities.
- We moved to our current office location at 455-A Dixon Rd.
- We Celebrate 20 years of achievements and look forward to what we will accomplish in the next decade to conserve the ecology of Mayne and its surrounding waters.