On June 3, board chair Paul Horgen welcomed 40 participants to Project Watershed’s 23rd Annual General Meeting. The event featured an overview of the society’s activities of the last year including a summary of the upcoming Simm’s Park bypass project, the Glen Urquhart and Mallard Creek scoping efforts, and an update on the ongoing communication with industry to obtain the de-commissioned sawmill property for restoration to its natural state with bicycle and walking trails.
“There is tremendous public support to do something environmentally constructive with this site,” said Dan Bowen, technical director.
Caila Holbrook brought members up to date with a Signage Project supported in part by Rotary, and relayed seven locations around the estuary where signs are being installed. She described the society’s new educational effort working with School District 71, creating learning strategies to bring local First Nations scientific and environmental information into the classroom. This new effort will involve seniors and other elder residents of the Valley.
Director Barbara Wellwood presented a list of major donors to the society and described funding from individuals (both one time donations and sustainable monthly donations) as part of the society’s funding profile to cover operating expenses and rent.
“Most of the large grants that we receive for our restoration efforts do not provide any overhead costs to pay staff salaries, and the rent to keep our doors open,” Wellwood said.
The highlight of the funding report was a presentation of a $25,000 donation to the society by Bill and Val Heath.
Two short scientific presentations included a report on the kelp restoration and research efforts (by director Heath) and a report on ancient First Nations Resource Management in the Puntledge watershed by K’omoks First Nation archeologist Jesse Morin. Morin explained the abundance of resources such as the 6,000 acre Tsolum Prairie with Garry Oak, camas, berries and fern which also attracted game. Morin emphasized the importance of the dugout canoe for resource management involving fishing, traveling and food gathering.
Election of the all volunteer 2017-18 board was carried out by Jim Gillis, Estuary working group member. Eight of the former directors were re-elected and a new ninth director was elected (Kathy Haigh), who will work with Wellwood on membership, volunteers and fundraising.