The Annual General meeting of the Friends of Ecological Reserves was on February 18, 2000, at the University of Victoria.
President Cheryl Borris welcomed participants and reported briefly on the highlights of 1999:
"In 1999, FER successfully completed a third year FER's participation in the Landowner Contact Project, where we have worked with owners and operators of interior ranch lands advising them of the ecological importance of their property and acquainting them with options for stewardship and conservation actions. Solid funding from grantors such as Eden Conservation Trust, EcoAction 2000, the MacLean Foundation and the Vancouver Foundation ensured that we were financially capable of managing this ambitious project.
"Bill Turner and Nichola Gerts have coauthored a Canadian Edition of the book Preserving Working Ranches in the West. This publication will be completed in 2000, and will be distributed throughout the province describing the work we have been involved in, remaining as a tool to encourage the conservation of BC's grasslands. Conservation agreements and legal negotiations that are a result of this program will be continued through our project partner The Land Conservancy of BC.
"With financial assistance from FER, Dr. Jane Watson continues her study of sea urchins and sea otters in Checleset Bay ER, Dr. Tom Reimchen continues his research investigating the relationships between salmon, bears and coastal forests; Leanna Warman and Dr. Tony Sinclair continue to explore complementarity and a systematic method for identifying priority areas to conserve rare species using 'irreplaceability' in the Okanagan, Chris Engelstoft works with sharptailed snakes in the Gulf Islands, and Pam Janszen continues her study of macrofungi in ER 15 on Satuma Island.
"In 1999, FER established the Vicky Husband Scholarship for environmental studies, here at UVic. 1 am pleased to report that Lindsay Cole was the first recipient of this award. Lindsay is finishing fourth year this spring and is the co-founder of the UVic Sustainability Project - a student-based initiative that will result in policy recommendations for campus sustainability in solid waste management, energy efficiency, curriculum, purchasing practices, environmental health, and campus ecology.
"In 1999, we participated in the International Coastal CleanUp, an annual event that targets the removal of marine debris from coastal waterways and shores. We have secured the interest of the BC Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks and, in 2000, anticipate a major effort directed towards all marine ecological reserves in BC. New important contacts with Fisheries and Oceans Canada have ensured that FER has a seat at the table during discussions involving Marine Protected Areas on the West Coast. As well, as a result of our participation in the BC Parks Legacy process, we have been invited to participate in policy discussions with the government regarding the creation of new ecological reserves and the management challenges of existing ecological reserves.
“In 1999, our 15th anniversary year it seemed appropriate for the Board of' Directors to do some introspective thinking, with a view to setting future directions and priorities. We spent a day and emerged, successfully, with a renewed purpose to communicate with and support the network of volunteer wardens that care for ecological reserves in British Columbia.
"At this time, I would like to thank the board members for their contributions and dedication to the ecological reserve svstem in BC. We are a unique society - no other non-profit group is concerned with ERs. A special thank you goes to retiring board member Briony Penn who leaves us to continue important conservation work with the Salt Spring Island Conservancy and The Land Conservancy of BC. It is my personal hope that Briony won't go too far, as her wonderful artwork, her enthusiasm and inspired ideas will be sorely missed. I would like to thank the people who support the board, so that the work of the society continues efficiently - without their competence and commitment our work would be that much harder - Nichola Gerts, our able and creative manager, Dianna Wootton, our hard-working bookkeeper, Tom Mace, the editor of The Log. I would also like to thank members who have consistently volunteered their time and talents when there are tasks to be done: particularly, Marilyn Lambert - our marine field trips would not happen without her, and Tom Gillespie, who continues to maintain our mailing list so well.
"In closing, I would like to sav that my five years as president of the FER has been a rich and rewarding time. I have learned an immense amount during this time and have made many friends. I will not seek a 6th year as president this year, but am confident that I leave the society in good hands and look forward to serving as pastpresident during 2000."
Cheryl presented the treasurer's report, saying that total operations expense for the society for 1999 was $49,000, of which $1 1,000 was allocated to the Landowner Contact Project. Corporate donations, largely in response to the Landowner Contact Project and our Research assistance Program increased from $35,000 to $41,000 and, in 1999, fundraising revenues from lecture admissions, field trip fees and placemat sales increased from $3,500 in 1998 to $4,100.
The Nominating Committee presented the election slate for the 2000 board of directors. Eleven directors stood for re-election. No additional candidates were put forward. All were elected by acclamation.
A special resolution was passed to amend the constitution and bylaws, in order to comply with BC Gaming Commission regulations. After the business portion of the meeting, members and guests par, took of a light potluck supper. The meeting was followed by an illustrated lecture by 1999 award recipient Pam Janszen, who spoke about her research in ER 15 on Saturna Island.