Canadian conservationists are raising $1.7 million to buy an island and fend off developers

The BC Parks Foundation has simply days to raise the remainder of the $1.7 million wanted to buy the 100-acre island within the Salish Sea and shield it from developers. So far, the muse has $122,415 left to increase by November 17, the deadline to buy West Ballenas.

“It was named as one of the top 10 biodiverse sites in the Salish Sea off the coast of British Columbia, one of our most threatened ecosystems,” BC Parks Foundation CEO Andy Day informed CNN. “It’s zoned for development, so if we don’t buy it, it would be divided into a number of parcels and houses will be built on it.”

The basis plans to flip the island right into a public park the place conservationists can management the impression folks have on the area by ensuring areas off-limits and putting in anti-pollution services, in accordance to Day.

Since West Ballenas is house to many endangered animals and plant species, Days says it’s crucial that the muse shield the island’s ecosystems whereas giving folks the chance to discover its beautiful views.

“It’s a beautiful spot and just perfect for kayaking and canoeing, so we certainly want people to be able to connect with it, but we need to make sure it’s properly protected because there are endangered species on the island,” Day added.

Northern sea lions on West Ballenas Island.
The island, which is totally undeveloped and in its pure state, is the habitat for endangered plants together with the water-plantain buttercup, which solely exists in West Ballenas and one different location in British Columbia. Found on the island are additionally red-listed Garry oak bushes and a uncommon kinnnikinnick plant group.

Its waters include diving sea birds, orcas and different marine animals. In the winter, its shores are additionally house to California and northern sea lions.

A group effort

While the BC Parks Foundation works exhausting to shield as a lot land as doable in British Columbia, they cannot do it alone.

The basis is shut to raising the cash wanted to buy the island with the assistance of donors giving $5 a month, philanthropists providing a whole lot of 1000’s of {dollars} and even college students holding bake gross sales to increase cash for the trigger, Day says.

“We wanted to give people the opportunity to pitch in whatever they can to be part of the movement and have an impact,” he mentioned.

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One of the principle teams Day praised for his or her assist in making the West Ballenas buy doable is a highschool class of 14-year-olds who’ve been chopping wooden and promoting it.

One of those college students is Isabelle Scott, a ninth grader at Ballenas Secondary School in British Columbia who has been chopping and stacking wooden with 18 different classmates.

“We’ve raised $3,000 so far, but it is hard work,” Scott informed CNN. “At the end of it, everyone is tired and sore and has at least a couple slivers.”

“I believe it is important to be a part of the solution when it comes to the environment, especially if it is local,” she mentioned. “If we manage to raise enough money to save the island, I hope it will stay there for as long as possible so I can eventually take my own kids there to experience what a beautiful place it is.”

Scott mentioned she additionally hopes the muse should buy the island to encourage different folks world wide “to do their part in saving their own local ecosystems.”

This is the second time the muse is trying to buy property in an effort to shield endangered ecosystems from being destroyed.

The first buy was 2,000 acres of land in Princess Louisa Inlet, a coastal wilderness alongside BC’s Sunshine Coast recognized for its huge cliffs and its numerous ecosystem of endangered animals. The basis efficiently crowdfunded over $3 million in simply months in 2019 to buy the land and flip it right into a protected park.

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