News Release – HCTF Announces North Island Conservation Fund
Fish and wildlife will receive an extra boost next year from a new fund explicitly for conservation projects on the northern half of Vancouver Island.
The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF) has announced it will begin accepting applications for the $350,000 North Island Conservation Fund starting this fall.
HCTF CEO Brian Springinotic said the Foundation decided to create the Fund following receipt of a $174,000 creative sentencing award from Neucel Specialty Cellulose Ltd after it was convicted for polluting Port Alice waters in 2011.
“In a perfect world we’d never receive these types of payments, because environmental damage wouldn’t take place,” said Springinotic. “Unfortunately, these types of infractions are still occurring, and our job is to ensure that money payable by the offender goes back into the habitats and species impacted, above and beyond any remediation required. Creative sentencing allows that to happen.”
The judge in the Neucel case specified that the creative sentencing award be used to “support of fish and wildlife conservation projects on Northern Vancouver Island”. HCTF’s Board of Directors decided to match the court award funding with revenue from surcharges on hunting and fishing licences to create the new $350,000 fund. HCTF is hopeful other local organizations will offer additional financial and in-kind support to grant applicants.
“We’re encouraging local conservation groups, fish and game clubs, First Nations, biologists –anyone who has a good idea to help fish and wildlife on North Vancouver Island – to visit our website or get in touch with us to learn more about this opportunity,” said Springinotic.
The deadline for the 2017 application intake will be November 2nd. You can find out more about the North Island Conservation Fund at https://www.hctf.ca/apply-for-funding/nicf
Bat Counters Wanted
The BC Community Bat Program is seeking volunteers and bat colonies for the Annual Bat Count. This citizen-science initiative encourages residents to count bats at local roost sites. “Bat counts are a wonderful way for residents to get involved in collecting important scientific information” says biologist Mandy Kellner, coordinator of the BC Community Bat Program. “No special skills are needed, kids can be involved, and you can relax in a deck chair while counting.”
This year the Annual Bat Count will collect baseline data on bat populations before the devastating White Nose Syndrome fungal disease affects bats in the province.
“White Nose Syndrome is estimated to have killed more than six million bats since it was first discovered in eastern North America a decade ago,” says Kellner. “In March 2016, the disease was detected just east of Seattle. This has greatly increased our urgency to understand bat populations in BC. We need the public’s help to census local bat populations. The summer of 2017 may be our last year to obtain population estimates before White Nose Syndrome causes widespread declines in western North America.”
Volunteers wait outside a known roost site, such as a bat-house, barn, bridge or attic, and count bats as they fly out at twilight. They record the final number along with basic information on weather conditions. Ideally, 1 – 2 counts are done between June 1 and 21 before pups are born, and 1 – 2 more between July 21 and August 15 when pups are flying.
“We know relatively little about bats in BC, including basic information on population numbers” continues Kellner. “This information will be extremely valuable, particularly if it is collected annually. If people want to get involved but don’t have a roost site on their property, we will try to match them with a roost site nearby.”
Funded by the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation and with support of the BC Conservation Foundation and the Province of BC, the BC Community Bat Program provides information for people dealing with bat issues on their property or have questions about how to attract bats.. To find out more about or to register for a bat count, or to get assistance dealing with bat issues, visit www.bcbats.ca or call 1-855-9BC-BATS.
PCAF Application Deadline May 16th
HCTF’s Public Conservation Assistance Fund provides small grants for conservation projects involving volunteers. Projects can include on-the-ground activities such as wetland restoration, reptile monitoring, bird banding, and nest 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. Applications must be submitted to HCTF by 4:30PM on May 16, 2017 to be eligible for funding.
Since 1974, the Province of BC and the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation have provided approximately $150,000 in PCAF grants to help implement on-the-ground conservation work, with a particular focus on hands-on, community based and public awareness initiatives. More than 1000 such projects have been carried out under the program so far.
HCTF 2017-18 Approved Project List
A list of our 2017-18 Enhancement, Restoration and Land Stewardship grant recipients is now available. Click on the link below to download a copy of this list.
HCTF 2017-18 Approved Project List
Happy Earth Day!
Today is officially Earth Day, and this year’s theme of Environmental & Climate literacy is a great fit with HCTF Education‘s programs and philosophy. HCTF Education partnered with local schools on Earth Day activities to get students outside, learning about the outdoors and making a difference in their communities.
On Friday, Monterey Middle School hosted a public event to help rid their local beach of nurdles, tiny pellets that are melted down to make plastic products. Because they’re so tiny, nurdles are rarely targeted in clean-up efforts, but scientists are becomingly increasingly concerned about the effects these persistent plastics can have on marine ecosystems. Inspired by their local high school’s presentation on ocean pollution, Monterey’s Grade 8 classrooms decided they wanted to turn their school’s annual Earth Day celebration into an outdoor event that allowed them to share what they’ve learned with their communities and work together to help their local fish and wildlife. The students built nurdle sifters for the public to use, and hosted themed information stations and activities.
Monterey Principal Ken Andrews says he was pleased to see his school’s Earth Day plans evolve from an indoor assembly to an outdoor event involving the community. “I’m convinced that the journey toward a more ecologically sustainable society will be led by those of the next generation who feel a genuine sense of connection to the natural world and appreciation of biodiversity,” says Andrews. “We partnered with HCTF Education to plan our Earth Day activities, but also to embed environmental learning activities into our everyday practices.” Currently, HCTF Education facilitators are working with Monterey’s faculty to create a series of customized marine lessons that will be taught at their local beaches later this spring. For ideas on how your school or classroom can incorporate place-based environmental learning, visit hctfeducation.ca
Reminder to Students: WRFC Sponsorship Application Deadline April 30
There’s a little over a week remaining for BC post-secondary students to submit their sponsorship applications for the World Recreational Fishing Conference July 16 – 20 in Victoria, BC. The Conference will provide students with the opportunity to learn about advances in recreational fisheries research and management from the world’s leading experts. As the official Education Sponsor for WRFC8, HCTF has offered to sponsor up to four BC post-secondary students to attend. More >>