B.C.’s ecological reserves are established to protect representative, particularly rare, or endangered ecosystems, plants, animals or geologic features. They are well protected places to do appropriate research, to teach and to learn about how ecosystems recover or change over time. Most ecological reserves are open to the public for low impact activities such as hiking, bird-watching, wildlife viewing or photography. However, higher impact activities like camping, biking, hunting or fishing, grazing or using motorized vehicles are not allowed.
On February 25th and 26th, 2016 in Nanaimo, BC Parks, Friends of Ecological Reserves and the Parks Collaborative co-hosted a meeting where they could recognize and thank the volunteer ecological reserve (ER) wardens on Vancouver Island. ER wardens are the eyes and ears of BC’s ecological reserves. Each commits to visiting a specific ecological reserve at least twice per year – many visit more. They report issues to BC Parks, and help with outreach by speaking to people they encounter in the reserve, and sometimes by presenting to local groups. Many ER wardens organize or contribute to research, inventory or monitoring projects.
Over two days, ER wardens shared stories and pictures about the ecological reserves that they work in, trained in how in how to use new technology to record observations and monitor impacts or changes in reserves, and collaborated in workshops to generate ideas for how to make the program even better. The meeting ended with visits to Mount Tzuhalem and Woodley Range Ecological Reserves, hosted by the ER wardens and BC Parks staff. Two keynote speakers rounded out the event at a Friday night dinner: Bristol Foster, a renowned biologist and ecological reserve pioneer, and Briony Penn, a naturalist, writer, educator and author who shared stories from her recent book, The Real Thing: The Natural History of Ian McTaggart Cowan.
ER wardens are passionate, knowledgeable, committed volunteers who know their reserves well, and who are critical to preserving the health, function and resilience of B.C.’s ecological reserves. BC Parks would like to extend huge thanks to them, and to all the organizers, participants and pr esenters at this event.
Find out more: