Gabriola Land and Trails Trust’s burgeoning Nature Stewards program has received a $2,000 boost from the Regional District of Nanaimo.
The RDN board of directors approved a community grant for GaLTT’s program that guides private landowners in protecting and restoring natural areas.
The Nature Stewards program aims to contribute to protecting 30 per cent of the island in 10 years, said Ken Gurr, Nature Stewards program coordinator, in line with the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity’s call for world governments to protect 30 per cent of lands and oceans by 2030.
At the moment, 12 per cent of Gabriola Local Trust Area is protected through parks and conservation covenants, according to Islands Trust. Arriving at that 30 per cent goal will require private landowners to also conserve a portion of their lands, Gurr said.
“Nature Stewards is all about inspiring people to take a look at their properties and to do whatever they can to make sure that the nature they have is going to be conserved or … to look at simple ways to create a little more nature, a little more biodiversity.
“It really rests with all of us as private landowners to do something about this and make sure Gabriola can be a beautiful natural paradise well into the future.”
The funds from the RDN along with funding from Islands Trust Conservancy and donors will go toward things like helping train volunteers to do property visits and make recommendations to interested property owners, developing a manual and organizing public workshops.
Gurr said the GaLTT membership is packed with members with backgrounds in biology and ecology who will help guide the conservation efforts with support like ecosystem mapping from Islands Trust Conservancy.
As for the 30 per cent goal, Gurr is confident Gabriolans will step up and make it a reality.
“The goal is 10 years because that’s the international goal. We think we’ll probably get their before that and we think we’ll even exceed it because that’s the kind of community Gabriola is.”
Rachelle Stein-Wotten, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Gabriola Sounder