Matching campaign ongoing for Pender land protection effort

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Conservation organizations are ramping up fundraising efforts to purchase and protect a 44.5 acre forest on North Pender Island, with a matching campaign ongoing until June 8. 

The Raincoast Conservation Foundation and the Pender Island Conservancy Association have plans to protect 44.5 acres of land known as the KELÁ_EKE Kingfisher Forest. After launching the campaign in the last days of December 2021, the organizations have raised close to $213,000 towards their goal of $2.1 million. 

“So far, support for this land protection work has largely come from individuals living on the Gulf Islands and other areas surrounding the Salish Sea,”  a Raincoast blog post stated. “However, small local businesses and entrepreneurs have been significant supporters” with financial donations as well as in-kind support. 

Anyone donating to their efforts up until World Oceans Day on June 8 will have their donations doubled thanks to a matching campaign initiated by a $100,000 donation from the Sitka Foundation, an amount which was later doubled by an anonymous donor. The matching donation amount is over $86,000 at present, with individuals and small businesses contributing. The $200,000 pledge from Sitka and the anonymous donor are in addition to the $213,000 already raised by the campaign. 

On June 3, the Islands Trust Conservancy gave $5,000 from their opportunity fund. The conservancy’s work is among other things focused on supporting campaigns like the Kingfisher Forest and other land protection efforts. 

KELÁ_EKE is the SENĆOŦEN name for Razor Point on the shores of Plumper Sound, according to the fundraising page.

“According to Dave Elliot Sr., member of the Tsartlip Nation and author of Saltwater People, KELÁ_EKE refers to their observation of a distinct population of inland crows whose calls differ from other crow populations around the Salish Sea,” the page stated. 

The Islands Trust Conservancy’s opportunity fund is aimed at supporting the protection of biodiversity in the Islands Trust Area. From the donations the fund has received since 2005, 28 grants have been distributed to help protect over 530 hectares. 

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