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Land trusts are not in the business of confrontation, but they have a responsibility to protect lands which the public have donated funds to purchase for conservation of wildlife habitat.
Protecting habitat for conservation is a public promise that extends well beyond the simple purchase of the land. SILT commits to defending biodiversity forever but needs your help to safeguard the properties and their values for all time. Conserving biodiversity is not a liability, it is a responsibility we all share. Your donations will help SILT to better protect the lands we hold, and to purchase more lands so we may all enjoy wildlife, and all living things, forever.
A six-hectare (14-acre) parcel of pristine sage and bunchgrass hillside near Osoyoos has been committed to the Southern Interior Land Trust (SILT) while on their first ever bus tour of the land trust properties on Saturday, Oct. 14.
One of the three stops during the bus tour was at the 16.6-hectare (41-acre) Bourguiba Spring property, purchased just last year with the support of dozens of donors from around the province. It was at this stop that Steinar Johnsen, owner of an adjacent property announced the commitment of land.
The Bourguiba Spring property on Highway 3, is three kilometres southeast of Osoyoos.
Johnsen explained that he has always turned to nature to “recharge his batteries” and he hopes his four new neighbours on the property he just subdivided and is building his home on, will feel as passionately as he about conservation of natural areas.
SILT president Judie Steeves thanked Johnsen for the donation of land.
“It takes a commitment from each of us to ensure habitat for wildlife is conserved for all time. Everyone needs to give what they can, whether it be time and energy, financial support, or gifts of skills or natural land features. Otherwise, our children’s children won’t know the wildflowers and creatures which have brought us joy during our lives,” said Steeves.
From bighorn sheep to endangered bird and insect species, the property is considered very good quality habitat confirms biologist Jason Jones of EcoLogic Consultants. He has been working on a University of Guelph invertebrates study on the Bourguiba Spring property this past summer. He figures he collected six million insects from the property for the survey.
During his time there he says one day he counted 27 rattlesnakes in just a 15-minute hike and there are more than 80 bird species and three dozen butterfly species, including the endangered Behr’s Hairstreak butterfly, which relies entirely on Antelope Brush for its existence.
Ecologist Don Gayton, who provided interpretive information for the tour guests, noted that the bluebunch wheatgrass that populates the rocky hillsides of the property are a great carbon capture mechanism due to their vast network of roots.
Those along on the day-long bus tour included representatives of the B.C. Conservation Foundation, the RDOS, the Nature Conservancy of Canada, local naturalists’ clubs, and other donors to SILT’s work.
The first stop was to the R.E. Taylor property in Olalla, a 4.9-hectare (12-acre) intact wetland of mature water birch and cottonwoods on Keremeos Creek that is habitat for such endangered species as the Yellow-breasted Chat.
Next was a visit to restoration of Ginty’s Pond in Cawston where B.C. Wildlife Federation staff and volunteers were working with members of the Lower Similkameen Indian Band and SILT to re-vegetate the margins of the pond to enhance the habitat for aquatic species such as the Painted Turtle and a variety of waterfowl. It is a 6.3-hectare (15.5-acre) former oxbow of the Similkameen River.
All of SILT’s properties are open to the public for non-motorized use and enjoyment without endangering natural features.
The tour wound up with a wine-tasting courtesy of Hester Creek Winery where SILT board member and marketing manager for the winery, Bruce Hibbard provided a tour of the crush pad and barrel room.
Lakes and rivers are the most sustainable source of freshwater and are essential for ecological function and social economic needs. Since Canada has more lake area than any other country, we have a responsibility to protect it. You can improve your lake health and shoreline environment with help from the Love Your Lake program.
Participating in Love Your Lake is a great way to gauge the health of your lake and become a steward of your local freshwater! Over the past 10years, Watersheds Canada and the Canadian Wildlife Federation have been proud to support waterfront communities coast to coast across Canada through the Love Your Lake program.
Love Your Lake is a shoreline evaluation program designed to encourage waterfront property owners to take proactive steps toward improving lake health by creating and maintaining healthier shorelines. Each property owner on an assessed lake receives a personalized and confidential report that outlines voluntary actions they can take on their property to protect their freshwater. Anyone can discover how to become a steward of their local freshwater and explore helpful tips to keep your shoreline happy and healthy for future generations by visiting LoveYourLake.ca.
Congratulations to Haiden MacDonald
2023 Recipient of the John B. Holdstock Scholarship
The British Columbia Conservation Foundation is pleased to announce that Haiden MacDonald, an aspiring environmentalist and dedicated conservation advocate, has been awarded the prestigious John B. Holdstock Scholarship for his exceptional achievements and commitment to environmental stewardship.
Haiden currently works for the BC Wildlife Federation, where he uses the skills he gained in UBC’s Natural Resources Conservation Program, in the field, and from his background in angling in coordinating the Fish Habitat Restoration and Education Program. This program aims to raise awareness about the importance of protecting and conserving freshwater fish and riparian habitats across B.C., while building community capacity to care for these valued areas through restoration and community engagement.
With special thanks to the JB Holdstock Scholarship Committee members: