By Mike Fenger
It has been a very successful year thanks to efforts
of Board members, wardens, and supporters of Friends of Ecological Reserves. We
have made real progress and I am reminded of the words of Margaret Mead who
said, “Never doubt that a small, group of thoughtful committed citizens can
change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Friends of Ecological
Reserves are just such as group.
The Year in Review
Reimchen, at the 2006 AGM, provided his insightful lecture on Kermodi bears and
re-enforced the importance of supporting research into natural areas such as
Ecological Reserves. We were pleased to present Tom a cheque for $5,000.00 to
continue his research.
Thanks to a
June Board Retreat and the skill of our facilitator Colin Rankin, we now have a
strategic plan with a mission statement “to support the role of Ecological Reserves
in furthering understanding of natural processes and human interactions.”
five areas in the newly minted Strategic Plan that form an excellent framework
to report on the activities from March 2006 to March 2007.
To support the protection
and management of a strong Ecological Reserve System through a strong warden
program, systematic inventory and monitoring, timely assessment of reserves and
an effective government presence, especially where ERs are most at risk.
- Thanks to a grant from Ministry of Environment regional
warden meetings were held so government staff and wardens could renew the
partnership and coordinate efforts on care of ecological reserves. Thanks go
to Elizabeth Purkiss, Eva Durance, Bev Ramey, and Marilyn Lambert for
getting these off the ground. Thanks also goes to Nancy Wilkin for
providing the funds to make this happen and to Scott Benton who approved
participation of area supervisors. (See Winter for details of these regional
- The State of Ecological Reserves Report, two years
in the making, was released in November 2006. The condition of a third of reserves
was rated as poor to very poor and only half the reserves had wardens to assist
in a watchdog role. Baseline plants and animals inventorying and a data management
system is largely incomplete.
- Looking ahead to 2007- 08, FER will be working
with Ministry staff to recruit new wardens where wardens want to step down
or where we do not currently have a warden. (see Minister’s letter of
support in this issue for warden recruitment). There are also two regional
area supervisor/ranger staff to fill.
To support the
study of Ecological Reserves that builds understanding of ecosystem resiliency,
ecological process and natural elements.
- A science panel to advise on research priorities
was formed (see Autumn ) Evelyn Hamilton, Dr. Art Tautz, Dr. Jenny Balke
and, Dr. Adolf Ceska all rose to the occasion when asked to guide
FER research priorities and respond to proposals. There was,
however no call for new proposals this year as there were no
surplus funds for research.
Funding was continued to Tom Reimchen for his research
into Kermodi bears and to Jane Watson for her work on marine
- Moving forward, we expect to develop
strategic research priorities and to reach out to research
organizations and to Ministry of Environment to make these
known. We will continue to seek funding to support research
of natural systems.
Goal 3: To support the development of a
resilient and enduring science based reserve system.
- A paper was presented by Mike Fenger and Matthew
Wheatley at the Parks and Protected Areas Research Forum in December on
gaps in natural research benchmarks with a focus on representative
watersheds in the mountain pine beetle affected forests in the interior of
- Looking ahead to 2007- 08, we expect to be able
to indicate where the biggest gaps in the Ecological Reserve system are
found and to work with other interested groups and organizations on a
strategy to fill these natural area benchmark gaps. To be successful this
initiative of a network of natural research watersheds will need to involve
government, industry, research organizations, conservation organizations
and First Nations.
awareness of the value of ecological reserves among targeted
groups, including: local and provincial elected officials; public
civil servants; and neighbours of ecological reserves.
- The FER website is a critical link to getting
our information on ER out to a wider
- The board outlined the findings of the State of Ecological Reserves Report
in a letter to the Minister of the Environment (Minister Penner).
- The Board met with the Minister in November and discussed
how to address concerns raised by the report.
- The Minister responded to FER and has agreed to
- A letter of concern was sent to the Ministry of Environment
regional staff regarding Vance Creek ER and the expansion on Silver Star
that potentially impacts this reserve. (See letter on page 13)
- Looking ahead we hope to take the Minister or
senior Environment staff on the Trail Island ER April 29th field
To sustain a
nurturing and effective organization that supports the maintenance
and development of ecological reserves and concepts underpinning
- The new Editor, Louise Beinhauer, completed the Autumn
and Winter Logs using a new format.
- Board held a retreat on Hornby.
- Field trips to Trial Island
and Race Rocks were held.
- We will work with Ministry staff to implement
the measures in the Minister’s letter. Looking ahead, the Board is
planning to visit some of the ERs on the east side of Vancouver
Island with the wardens.
- We will have a board member as part of the team
reviewing boundaries of the Grand Portage, a proposed Ecological Reserve
within the Spatsizi area, near Gladys
- We will seek ways to fund raise and to increase membership
in FER as well as securing research funding.
members have stepped down this year. We all owe them a huge thank you for
putting their shoulders to the wheel. Don Eastman served a two-year term as President
and a two-year term as past president. Don provided continuity and has served
FER admirably and will be missed. Thank you Don for your service. Saila Hull served as treasurer over the past
three years and lent considerable much needed youthful energy and optimism to
meetings. We miss you Saila.
pleased to have Garry Fletcher join the Board and bring his considerable experience
as warden of Race Rocks. His skill in garnering research funds and projects and
extending these with his award-winning web site will be greatly appreciated.
Thank you Garry for stepping up at this time.