Fri, 13 Apr 2018

HCTF Announces $7.5 Million for Fish and Wildlife Conservation

Kamloops The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation has announced it will be providing approximately $7.5 million in grants this year for projects benefitting BC’s fish and wildlife. This includes projects co-funded by the Forest Enhancement Society of BC.

To download a list of projects receiving HCTF grants in 2018-19, click on the link below.

2018-19 HCTF Approved Project List

Wed, 4 Apr 2018
Tags: Education

GO Grants to Get Thousands of Students Outdoors This Spring

HCTF School GO Grants in the snow

There may still be snow in parts of BC, but spring GO Grant field trips are just around the corner! We’ve just awarded $75,000 in GO grants to 216 teachers in 34 different school districts to get more than 5500 BC students learning outdoors this spring.

This photo was submitted to us by Amy Woodland Elementary School in Cranbrook. The school used an HCTF GO Grant for its “Wilderness Wednesdays” initiative. Each Wednesday, the school hired a bus to take several classes to Jim Smith Provincial Park and Idlewild Park to participate in outdoor, place-based learning experiences. The main goal of “Wilderness Wednesdays” was to provide children with regular access to natural spaces for child-directed, inquiry-based learning. Kindergarten teacher Leah Draper reports that the opportunities for learning were endless. “We were fortunate to have guest educators teach us about bats in the fall, and Dave Quinn from Wildsight facilitated the program, Nature Through the Seasons. All of the learning and free-play activities were rooted in the features of and changes in the local forest environment, ” says Draper.

Students learned about local plants and animals and how they adapt to changing seasons. They built shelters, had weekly campfire stories, went snowshoeing, ice-fishing, created art from natural elements and played cooperative games. Outdoor education students from the University of Victoria also participated in the field trips to apply their learning with the classes.

“This was a transformative experience for our school,” says Draper. “Because of our school’s central location in Cranbrook, we don’t have many natural spaces within a reasonable walking distance. These field trips provided children with learning experiences that they will remember, and reports from children, parents and staff have been positive and full of appreciation.?”

Teachers have reported increased levels of student engagement and improved student relationships as a result of collaborative problem solving during field trip activities. Students were also allowed time to play and explore independently, providing welcome opportunities for using their imagination. Draper observed Kindergarten students becoming families of wolves and creating and maintaining an icy “otter” slide, as well as constructing numerous “homes” for other animals. The wilderness experience also led students to build resilience when faced with obstacles, including inclement weather.

This was the school’s second year of Wilderness Wednesdays and teacher participation has grown immensely. The school hopes to continue getting their students outdoors and plans to apply to HCTF Education’s Wild Schools program to build upon their students’ ecological literacy.

Find out more about HCTF’s GO Grant program at hctfeducation.ca

Wed, 4 Apr 2018

Start Planning for PCAF

PCAF 978 Cassin's Vireo by Jannaca Chick
This Cassin's Vireo was banded by volunteers as part of PCAF project 978, Bird Migration and Community Education Project. Thanks to Jannaca Chick for the photo.

It’s time to start planning your PCAF application! HCTF’s Public Conservation Assistance Fund provides small grants to individuals and organizations for conservation projects helping BC’s fish and wildlife. Projects can include activities such as wetland restoration, invasive species removal, reptile monitoring, bird banding, and bat box construction – there are all sorts of possibilities, so long as the project provides clear conservation benefits for BC fish and wildlife and has a strong volunteer component. Application instructions and forms are available here.

Applications must be submitted to HCTF by 4:30PM on May 16, 2018.

Questions? Contact Courtney Sieben by emailing courtney.sieben@hctf.ca or by calling 250 940 9781

Mon, 19 Mar 2018

Reminder: Grant Reports Due April 15th

The HCTF reporting deadline is fast approaching! For information about reporting on your HCTF grant, as well as reporting templates, visit our Enhancement Project Management & Reporting page. Questions? Please contact Katelynn Schriner at Katelynn.Schriner@hctf.ca or by calling 250.940.9784.

Wed, 7 Mar 2018

2018-19 Preliminary List of Approved Projects

A preliminary list of approved 2018-19 Enhancement & Restoration projects is now available. This list includes projects funded by HCTF’s North Island Conservation Fund and co-funded by the Forest Enhancement Society of BC.

PDF icon Download the 2018-19 Preliminary Approved Projects List

Projects included on this preliminary list have been approved in principle but may have reduced budgets or funding conditions. Over the next few weeks, all applicants will receive official notification emails including HCTF Board and technical committee comments. For approved projects, these emails will include the grant amount and funding conditions (if applicable).

Proponents of approved projects will receive a Conditional Grant Agreement by mail. Please be aware that until both you and HCTF have reviewed, accepted and signed the Conditional Grant Agreement, there is no confirmation of funding and no legal commitment in place.

Congratulations to all successful proponents! To those applicants who were not funded this time, thank you for your interest. The next opportunity to apply for an HCTF Enhancement and Restoration grant will be fall of 2018.

Update: the 2018-19 Approved Project List is now available here.

Tue, 27 Feb 2018
Tags: Wildlife

Whirling Disease Update

Whirling disease sampling

 

Last April, HCTF, FFSBC and the Province of British Columbia provided funding to hire a coordinator to lead the province’s efforts in preventing Whirling Disease from entering BC. Stephanie Whyte and her team sampled over 880 fish in the Columbia Basin for the presence of Myxobolus cerebralis, the parasite that causes whirling disease. The fish were sampled at six different sites:

  • Elk River
  • Premier Lake
  • Lower St Mary River
  • Koocanusa tributaries
  • Kootenay River (near Creston)
  • Columbia River (near Castlegar and Trail)

The team used sampling methods similar to those used in Alberta and by Parks Canada to create continuity in methodology in Western Canada. Because whirling disease is a reportable disease in Canada, Canada Food Inspection Agency collaborated with the Province of BC on a sampling methodology and to identifying priority sample sites in the Columbia Basin. The samples were sent to a FFSBC or a CFIA lab to test for the presence of Myxobolus cerebralis using PCR. All results came back negative for the presence of Myxobolus cerebralis.

In addition to testing for whirling disease, the team has developed effective decontamination procedures to help prevent the spread of the disease by human activity. They also created an Early Detection Rapid Response Plan (EDRR) to provide detailed direction on the decisions and actions required if whirling disease is detected in BC. This document is based on similar plans created for invasives such as Zebra and Quagga Mussels.

For 2018, the team have put together a plan that will continue to focus on areas of high human activity in and around the Columbia Basin.


Report Suspected Cases of Whirling Disease

While there are still no documented cases of Whirling disease in British Columbia, it has been confirmed in several locations in Alberta near the BC border. Fish infected with whirling disease may exhibit a “whirling” swimming behavior as the parasite attacks cartilage and impairs the nervous system. Fish may also show signs of physical malformations including head and tail deformities and darkened coloration near the tail area. If you see fish seeing any of these symptoms, please contact Front Counter BC Toll free: 1-877-855-3222; email: FrontCounterBC@gov.bc.ca