Mayne Island Conservancy Society
Our Impact Why We Exist
The Mayne Island Conservancy Society inspires people to take positive action to conserve and restore sensitive terrestrial and marine habitats through hands on learning, Walkabouts, workshops, talks and community celebrations. Residents and newcomers are curious about the unique ecology of the Gulf Islands and how they can nurture and attract native wildlife, insects and plants. Conservancy staff and volunteers offer personalized Walkabouts on landowners' properties to satisfy their curiosity about the natural world and provide advice on how to conserve and restore their cherished natural areas.
The Conservancy works with the Mayne School to offer learning opportunities that would otherwise not be available on a small island without museums or aquariums. Students participate in field trips from forest to wetland and sea, and assist with ecological restoration by planting trees. Off-island high school and university students work with the conservancy on restoration and research projects, giving students the satisfaction of knowing they are participating in positive change and providing a taste of the kinds of community based work that is possible.
The Conservancy encourages local governments to make better land use decisions by sharing detailed ecological inventories designed with planners in mind. With the help of trained volunteers we conduct terrestrial and nearshore habitat monitoring and share information with governments and regional conservation initiatives. Our long term eelgrass and bull kelp monitoring program, in particular, has inspired the Islands Trust Fund to do a full inventory of eelgrass in the Islands Trust Area. Other gulf islands communities are using our bull kelp mapping methodology to map and restore their shores and a collaboration with the Northwest Straits Commission, a U.S. organization, has been established to create consistent cross-border kelp monitoring practices.
The Conservancy offers summer employment opportunities to young and passionate adults, plunging them into the everyday life of a community-based organization. They learn valuable communication and technical skills and, more importantly, have the opportunity to feel more connected to nature and community in a quiet, non-commercial setting. Some students stay on to continue working for the Conservancy and most others end up working or volunteering with other community-based organizations.
Our Story What We Do
Our core work revolves around conservation action and restoration of impacted ecosystems. To a large extent we depend on our community to realize these goals. Volunteers and other community groups help us to engage a larger audience. We keep our ears to the ground to learn about unmet community needs and find ways to facilitate solutions.
Our work circulates from land to sea and back, and can be captured in these broad and overlapping categories:
We sponsor conservation-based workshops, movie nights, fun community events, nature walks, and offer ecology lessons to Mayne Island Elementary School students. Through our Walkabout Program staff and volunteers accompany landowners on a walkabout of their properties to discuss their ecology, and how a balance can be found between different land uses, including the stewardship of natural areas.
We produce high quality marine and terrestrial habitat surveys and wildlife habitat suitability maps as conservation tools for local governments and the community. Since 2008, we have been monitoring eelgrass and bull kelp habitats with the goals of establishing baselines and working with research institutions to understand ecosystem change. We initiate research projects to better understand the impact of fallow and native deer on terrestrial ecology. We collaborate extensively with other conservation groups to share resources and data and to strategically plan regional conservation and habitat monitoring programs.
Our native plant nursery provides plants for restoration activities and is a local source of native plants for purchase. As well, MICS has designed and implemented restoration plans for Henderson Community Park and the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve at Bennett Bay. In the future we will expand seaward and restore eelgrass where it has been historically impacted.
Our Programs How We Do It
Community Education Program
Providing opportunities to connect with nature and community is the most important role of the Conservancy. We offer these opportunities through our school program, hands-on workshops, Walkabout program and numerous volunteer activities on land and sea. Currently, we are embarking on a collaborative project to bring together the knowledge and resources of other Gulf Island organizations to make it available to current and future environmental educators.
Walkabout Landowner Contact Program
With only 4% of Mayne Island protected by parks and the rest privately owned, we consider this program to one of our most important and effective stewardship tools. We offer a service to Mayne Island residents where, at their request, our trained staff and volunteers "walkabout" with the landowner on their property. We discuss natural features, identify plant and wildlife species and discuss how becoming a land steward can preserve or enhance these features. We assist keen landowners with invasive removal and restoration plans, and offer our native plant nursery as a resource for plantings. Newcomers are increasingly using our service and some are seeking recommendations before they build.
Financial support for this program will enable us to continue to reach out to new landowners and check in with existing stewards.
Shoreline Care Program
The Shoreline Care Program began in 2009 to raise awareness about the marine life that surrounds Mayne Island. The program includes ongoing eelgrass and bull kelp monitoring, forage fish spawning habitat surveys, and monitoring of marine birds as co-caretakers of the Active Pass Important Bird Area. This year, we launched an Anchor out for Eelgrass campaign, focusing on using our maps to encourage residents and visitors to anchor or moor outside eelgrass.
Eelgrass and bull kelp monitoring requires ongoing funding. New funds would enable us to continue to share valuable data for regional conservation efforts, offer skill building opportunities to budding biology summer students, and increase stewardship of these critical habitats.
Habitat Restoration Program
In collaboration with the Mayne Island Parks and Recreation Commission and the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, the Conservancy has undertaken ecological restoration of two parks. Volunteers do the bulk of the restoration work. Financial contributions would assist with monitoring and purchase of trees.
What You Can Do
With your financial support, the Mayne Island Conservancy Society will be able to continue delivering our successful programs and expand them to encompass more conservation issues. We will be able to conserve significant areas on Mayne Island, deliver more programs to educate youth about the importance of caring for this special place, increase our mapping programs, which provide vital information for the management of species, and we will be able to continue providing information on conservation issues that affect the region as a whole.