A Very Special Gift from Odlum Brown Limited

Thanks to Odlum Brown Limited for a very special gift for our 45th anniversary.

At our recent Gala Debra Hewson, President and CEO of Odlum Brown Limited, congratulated The Nature Trust of British Columbia on our 45th anniversary. She highlighted the lengthy connection between the two organizations going back to the founder of Odlum Brown, Tom Brown. Tom served on the board of The Nature Trust for 21 years and was one of our original directors. He was instrumental in establishing The Nature Trust as the fiscally responsible land conservation force that it is today.  In recognition of The Nature Trust’s 45th anniversary, Debra announced the Odlum Brown Land Acquisition Fund would be established with a gift of $45,000.  These funds will be used to acquire properties in the areas where Odlum Brown has offices: on Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland/Fraser Valley and the Okanagan.

Donations of publicly traded securities to The Nature Trust of BC are managed by Odlum Brown Limited. If you would like to learn about donating shares, please contact Scott Reston at 604-669-1600 or sreston@odlumbrown.com or click here.

Take Our Kids to Work Day

One day in November, each year, over 250,000 Grade 9 students in Canada participate in The Learning Partnership’s annual Take Our Kids to Work Day, where they spend the day at the workplace of a parent, relative or friend.

The program provides Grade 9 students with opportunities to learn about the workplace and think about career paths that they might be interested in.

in 2015, Carl MacNaughton, Conservation Land Manager with The Nature Trust of British Columbia, took his daughter, Gretchen, a Grade 9 student in Vancouver, out for a day of land management! Gretchen learned about land conservation and management in the field. The majority of the day was spent at The Nature Trust of British Columbia’s Chilliwack River property.

1. Starting out. All geared up for a day in the field.
2. A beautiful, crisp autumn day at Chilliwack River. This property, acquired by The Nature Trust of BC in 1984, is 10.3 hectares (25 acres) in size and protects important salmon and steelhead spawning habitat. The Chilliwack River (known as the Vedder River downstream) is the most popular angling river in the Lower Mainland region, and The Nature Trust of BC’s property is highly used for river access by anglers all year round.
3. We started our day by getting some good exercise, removing a shopping cart from the edge of the conservation property. The blackberry canes were reluctant to let this gem go, and fought valiantly to keep it.
4. We were, however, successful in removing the offending beast from the thicket, and re-locating it to its natural habitat (the shopping centre).
5. We installed an informational sign near the angler access point. This type of sign is important for identifying the property boundaries and contact information if the public would like to ask questions.
6. After installing our signage, we hiked the property, picking up rubbish and examining the circle of life as evidenced by the multitude of spawning salmon throughout.
7. At the end of the day, the MacNaughtons had a great day in the field at a wonderful property. Gretchen learned about the importance of conservation lands, and how good it feels to help maintain these habitats for fish and wildlife.

McTaggart Cowan Scholarship

We are pleased to announce that Lily Burke is one of the 2015/2016 recipients of The Dr. Ian and Joyce McTaggart Cowan Scholarship. Dr. Ian McTaggart Cowan was a scientist, researcher and director of The Nature Trust. This scholarship in honour of him and his wife Joyce recognizes conservation studies at the University of Victoria.

About Lily

For my research project I am working to quantify the efficacy of Rockfish Conservation Areas and to test assumptions of underwater survey methods using SCUBA diver observations as well as towed and baited underwater video cameras. My field work has taken place on the Central Coast of British Columbia and around the Southern Gulf Islands.

McTaggart Cowan Scholarship

We are pleased to announce that Lauren Eckert  is one of the 2015/2016 recipients of The Dr. Ian and Joyce McTaggart Cowan Scholarship. Dr. Ian McTaggart Cowan was a scientist, researcher and director of The Nature Trust. This scholarship in honour of him and his wife Joyce recognizes conservation studies at the University of Victoria.

About Lauren

My research on BC’s Central Coast seeks to integrate traditional ecological knowledge of Coastal First Nations with ongoing scientific studies for holistic fisheries management. BC’s biodiverse ocean, inlets, fjords, and estuaries support ecosystems and fish species economically and ecologically vital to a multitude of stakeholders and governments. My research focuses on groundfish (rockfish and lingcod) on the Central Coast and utilizes a combination of semi-structured interviews with First Nations elders and fishers, and collaboration with marine scientists working to study current groundfish population dynamics. My project joins a growing body of work aiming to advance the efficacy of marine fisheries management by overcoming data limitations and user conflicts through exploration of diverse cultural perspectives and historical knowledge. In conclusion, my interdisciplinary work aims to more deeply understand and thereby manage rockfish populations in BC, inform and engage local First Nation communities, and utilize traditional and historic knowledge to facilitate a re-examination of simplistic and inadequate fisheries management paradigms.

Visit Lauren’s ecological research website:  https://laureneckertecology.wordpress.com/

Leaving a Legacy

The Nature Trust of BC was very pleased to receive $3,000 from the Barnet Rifle Club in May to help support our Conservation Youth Crews. The crews provide a hands on opportunity for young people to learn about conservation while restoring habitat, monitoring wildlife, removing invasive plants and educating the community.

In addition to this year’s gift, the Barnet Rifle Club donated $5,000 to acquire land along the Salmon River on Vancouver Island in 2014 and $7,000 to support land management of the Little-Levin Lake property north of Fort St. John in 2013.

The Barnet Rifle Club ran a target range in Burnaby for over 50 years. Many people learned how to safely operate and shoot a rifle or handgun at this range; at its peak the club had over 1,000 members. The club is a member of BC Wildlife Federation whose members are strong conservationists. In 1998, the City of Burnaby did not renew the club’s lease so the range was shut down. The remaining club members are now winding up their financial affairs with special legacy gifts.

“Barnet Rifle Club members are proud to contribute to The Nature Trust of BC. Being hunters, we have long recognized the importance of conserving habitat for wildlife. In little more than a century, the human population of BC has swollen from under 5,000 to over 4 million. Despite this impressive growth, numerous wildlife species have thrived thanks largely to the efforts of BC hunters and conservationists,” said Gary Mauser, President of the Barnet Rifle Club.

“The Nature Trust of BC is honoured to receive these donations from the Barnet Rifle Club,” said CEO Jasper Lament. “The members are providing a legacy for the future by supporting a new conservation property, helping with land management on another, and inspiring the next generation.”

McTaggart-Cowan Scholarship

We are pleased to announce that Frances Stewart is the 2014/2015 recipient of The Dr. Ian and Joyce McTaggart-Cowan Scholarship. Dr. Ian McTaggart-Cowan was a scientist, researcher and director of The Nature Trust. This scholarship in honour of him and his wife Joyce recognizes conservation studies at the University of Victoria.

About Frances

Frances StewartMy PhD research focuses on assessing mammalian biodiversity in areas of high human footprint. As human habitation and agriculture continues to expand into areas of prime habitat for biodiversity indicator species such as mesocarnivores (for example: fisher, marten, wolves, coyotes, fox), we not only change the landscape but also consider re-introducing species that may have left because of the change. This generates interesting questions, such as: How will human changes to the landscape influence the biodiversity and functioning of that ecosystem? Why are some re-introductions to altered landscapes successful, and others are not?

The fisher (Pekania [ Martes] pennanti) which is pictured below is a species endemic to Canada, but populations in Western Canada have been declining over the last century due to fur-trapping and agriculture. Re-introductions have occurred to try and re-establish their population range to the state it was pre-European settlement, but many of these re-introduction attempts have been unsuccessful. To assess a potentially successful fisher re-introduction to a landscape representative of many economically growing areas of Canada, I am focusing my research on fisher in Alberta’s Cooking Lake Moraine just east of Edmonton.

The moraine is a 900 km-squared section of land with high human use, but it is composed of patches of conserved habitat: private conserved land, a bird sanctuary, provincial park, and a national park. Fisher were re-introduced to this fragmented landscape in 1990 and 1992 and are there today, but whether fisher currently living on this landscape are descendants from re-introduced animals are unknown.

My research uses wildlife cameras and hair traps (for DNA) to find out:
1) if current fisher are descendants from re-introduced animals, and represent a rare but successful re-introduction attempt to Western Canada,
2) how fisher are utilizing and moving around a fragmented landscape, and
3) how fisher are competing with other mesocarnivores and influencing biodiversity.

This research is representative of areas in Canada with a growing population and studies species endemic to BC; it provides a perfect starting point to look at human impacts on mammalian biodiversity and re-introduction attempts in British Columbia.


The 12 Gifts of Nature

Some of the best gifts in life can’t be bought, wrapped up, and placed under the tree, but they can be saved! It’s time to take a look at all that nature has given us, and give something back. By conserving land in BC, not only are we giving back to nature, we are also giving future generations some of the most precious gifts of all. So add nature to your gift list this year and give something spectacular to future generations who will proudly call BC their home.

Bert Hoffmeister Scholarship Winner: Kate Johnson

We are pleased to announce that Kate Johnson has been selected as the recipient of the Bert Hoffmeister Scholarship.

A Little Bit About Kate:

I completed my undergraduate degree in Conservation Biology at the University of Alberta in 2013 and promptly began a Master’s of Forestry at the University of British Columbia under the supervision of Dr. Peter Arcese. My passion for wildlife biology stems from my love of being outdoors and interacting with the plants and animals that inhabit these beautiful places. Upon completion of my Master’s I hope to pursue a PhD in environmental health; a unique field that blends environmental and public health to solve practical and applied policy challenges. I am very grateful for the support I received from the Bert Hoffmeister Scholarship.

Project Description:

For my Master’s research I will investigate interactions between colonizing fox sparrows (Passerella iliaca) and resident song sparrows (Melospiza melodia) on Mandarte Island, a small southern Gulf Island. I will test the hypothesis that competition explains a long-term decline in this song sparrow population. Song sparrows declined 0.6% per year from 1960-2014, and more rapidly after fox sparrows colonized the island in 1975. Fox sparrows have since increased at 0.5% annually to now outnumber song sparrows. Preliminary evidence suggests that competition is occurring over winter food resources, which have declined dramatically from 1985 to 2013. Prior results show that fox sparrows overlap 100% in seed preference with song sparrows. Winter arena experiments showed that song sparrows were displaced from seeds in 96% of 25 contests, confirming that fox sparrows exclude them from preferred food. A winter removal experiment will be conducted in 2015 to confirm that fox sparrows exclude song sparrows from high quality feeding habitat and intake rates of feeding song sparrows are increased in the absence of fox sparrows.

Confirming these predictions will offer a clear example of an intra-guild invader causing a rapid decline of an established species by limiting its access to winter food resources. Understanding the impacts of invasive species on small, isolated populations will help predict patterns of species and population persistence in modified landscapes.

Here’s Your Chance to Have a Say!

The Nature Trust of BC is reaching out to all of our supporters on Facebook and Twitter to help us pick the name of our Monthly Giving program! We need your help to come up with a catchy name that will help us raise the money we need to continue conserving land in our gorgeous province.

Please help us in one of 2 ways:

Vote on a name:

We’ve got some good ideas but we need your help to decide which to use. Choose one of these options:

  1. Green Guardian
  2. Planting the Seeds
  3. Caring for Conservation
  4. EnvironmentALLY

Vote by posting your choice on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #TNTBCNameGiving.

Suggest a name:

Don’t see a name you like? Suggest a better one!
Post your suggestion on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #TNTBCNameGiving.

What’s in it for you?

Not only will you help us out with fundraising for our important land conservation projects, you will also be entered for a chance to have a tree planted in your honour. Voting on a name will get you one entry, while suggesting a name will get you three! You can only vote once, but feel free to suggest as many names as you like. Also, if you see someone else’s suggestion that you really like, feel free to Facebook or tweet your support by voting for it.

All votes and submissions must be posted by September 30th, 2014!

The Future of Biodiversity is BRITE

The Nature Trust of BC has been awarded a Biodiversity Research: Integrative Training & Education (BRITE) grant to help identify properties that are most likely to contribute positively to the persistence of ecologically significant species and communities.  Through the UBC Biodiversity Research Centre BRITE internship program, we have been fortunate to offer Richard Schuster, a PhD candidate in the Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences at UBC, an opportunity to apply his skills in the practical field of conservation planning.

During this three-month internship, funded through BRITE and The Nature Trust, Richard will develop a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) tool that will help us to use the best available science and technology to refine our understanding of biodiversity conservation priorities and thus maximize the biodiversity value of our future conservation investments.

Richard’s dedication to conservation is readily apparent in his answers to three questions:

What is your favourite Nature Trust property and why?

Carroll Creek on the Crowsnest Highway. This property is coincidentally located next to one of the transects that I used for my master’s work where I tracked mammals in the snow. The property is located in a great area where I found tracks of bobcats, coyotes, foxes, deer, elk and moose. Every time I would walk the transect on my snowshoes, I enjoyed the forest setting around there and as the transect went uphill I was able to enjoy some nice views of the valley below.

What makes you passionate about conservation?

The thought that there is a myriad of species and populations out there, both known and unknown to us, is mind-boggling. We are only one of millions of species that inhabit this planet. Given our ability to shape our environment in unprecedented ways, I think it is crucial that we use these capabilities responsibly and act as stewards of our planet’s inhabitants. To make my small contribution to the goal of preserving our planet’s natural beauty I am working in the field of Conservation Biology.

What do you wish everyone would do, and how would that have a positive impact on the environment?

Be more mindful about our resource use and what impact we have on the environment. If we would all try a little harder to conserve energy and reduce waste, I think this could go a long way in helping to reduce the negative effects these things have on the environment. In my opinion it all comes down to the question: what world do we want our children to grow up in? For me the answer is clearly: in one where my son can safely play outside, walk through natural forests and meadows, enjoy the local plants and animals, and drink from a clear, refreshing mountain creek when he is thirsty.

The Nature Trust of BC is excited to be working with Richard on this important project.

Richard Schuster (BRITE Intern) and Leanna Warman (TNTBC Ecosystem Specialist)

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Conserving Land in BC for Future Generations