World Wetlands Day: Conservation and Trails

On February 2, the BCWF Wetlands Education Program team made an appearance at “Conservation and Trails”, a symposium intended to bring together individuals from various backgrounds to discuss how we can improve efforts to conserve wildlife in the face of recreational trail building and use.

The event was put on by the North Shore Wetland Partners Society (NSWPS); a conservation group based out of North and West Vancouver. The Society’s mission is “to promote conservation of North Shore wetlands through education, research, restoration and stewardship”. By hosting this event this event the NSWPS demonstrated their level of commitment. Spanning from 9am-1pm on Saturday (thankfully, coffee was provided), the symposium started off with time dedicated to networking and discussion as participants were able to roam around and learn from the numerous displays and stations.

Information was abundant in all its glory: pamphlets, brochures, posters, pictures, and discussion all fostered conversation between biologists, conservationists, mountain bikers, scholars, stewards, and interested members of the public. The Ambleside Youth Centre (where the event was located) resembled a wetlands library! If there wasn’t a display that answered your questions about wetlands and conservation, there was a willing host standing next to it ready to answer.

Neil Fletcher, the BCWF Wetlands Education Program Coordinator, kicked off the event with his presentation on Mapping Wetlands to encourage trail users to both get involved in documenting wetlands on the north shore and participate in related conservation initiatives.  Tasha Murray, of the Invasive Species Council of Metro Vancouver, discussed invasive plants in the Metro Vancouver area and the role we can all play in helping native species flourish. Pamela Zevit from the South Coast Conservation Program  discussed Species at Risk that we may interact with on trails (e.g., Oregon Forest Snail). Mark Wood, from the North Shore Mountain Bike Association (NSMBA), shared information about their stewardship efforts as trail builders.  And key-note speaker Elke Wind, from E. Wind Consulting, talked about  best management practices for trails in order to keep healthy habitat for amphibians.

The symposium was fun-filled, engaging, and educational; the four hours it spanned went by faster than an action-packed film (well, not quite but you understand the picture!). If you missed the event and wished to attend, fear not! There are other opportunities.  We always encourage the public to expand their knowledge and get involved in conservation efforts.  Big thanks to the North Shore Wetlands Partners Society for an amazing symposium. If you are interested in attending a wetlands conservation event on the North Shore, make sure to contact the North Shore Wetland Partners Society by emailing north.shore.wetland.partners(at)gmail.com, or stay connected by following the BCWF Wetlands Education Program on Twitter (@BCWFWetlands) and Facebook.

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