As part of the organization’s annual strategic planning session, time is dedicated for the staff team to give back to where they are. In previous years that has seen an accessible entrance path added at Abilitas Lodge near Merritt, and this year, a variety of projects in support of the land and education of how to be responsible stewards.
Formed in 1989, the Galiano Conservancy Association strives to preserve, protect and enhance the quality of the human and natural environment on Galiano Island. The community-based land trust has purchased tracts of land, including the newest edition of The Millard Learning Centre where Power To Be lent a hand. Spanning 188 acres, the site features more than two kilometres of waterfront, two seasonal streams, a working farm, wetlands, and more than 80 acres of mature forest. It is part of the Mid Galiano Island Protected Areas Network which is used for hiking, education programs and ecological restoration projects.
“I have been doing restoration for 20 years and when I started out it was about healing a damaged landscape by having a one-time entry into that space, doing what we could and then letting it go back to nature,” explains Keith Erikson, Executive Director of Galiano Conservancy Association. “I have come to realize we are part of that. Our presence in a space within nature is an important piece of that place. It’s an important piece of the ongoing succession of that land.”
The focus is on learning how to live on the land in a way that supports restoration and mutual benefit between people and place, he says. The Millard Learning Centre is creating teaching gardens and forests, supported by community partnerships to sustain long-term stewardship.