President’s Message


By Don Eastman


Last year, the President’s message contained three parts. First, I extended

thanks to those who have contributed to the Friends over the previous year. Second, I reflected on our accomplishments. Third, I looked ahead to 2004 and set out some objectives for the Friends. I would like to follow a similar format for 2004, as these topics seem as useful now as they did almost a year ago.


All volunteer organizations rely on the dedication of a few people to keep them active, attractive and alert! I wish to acknowledge the work of the eleven Directors that make up the Board, and our three staff members that carry on the day-to-day activity of our organization.


Again, I wish to especially thank Peggy Frank who continues to find time in her busy schedule to work on so many aspects of the Friends’ business, including offering her home for us to meet (And a thank you, too, to Peter for tea and cookies). Tom Gillespie continues as our Membership person and as our mail “picker-upper.” Evelyn Hamilton has reviewed applications for research, and provided guidance in making those difficult decisions about how best to allocate our research funds. Mary Rannie and Marilyn Lambert continue to organize field trips, to Race Rocks and Trial islands, respectively – trips that are immensely enjoyable and educational. As well, Marilyn provides her valuable perspective as the Warden on our Board. Lynne Milnes has been quite successful this year in that very important job of fund-raising. Alison Nicholson continues as our webmaster, and maintains and enhances our very popular website. Saila Hull took on the job of Treasurer this year, and she has helped us keep up-to-date on our finances.


The Board has been fortunate in having the support of three staff, without whom the Friends would founder. We have had major changes over the past year: Saila Hull has come back to the Director’s fold after a spell as our Office Manager. We were fortunate in having Santiago Alvarez take over from Saila, and he has been doing a great job for us as Office Manager. Another change has been in the bookkeeping department where Diane Wootton has stepped down after many years of dedicated service; her duties have been taken over by Tom

Gillespie. One position has remained unchanged for us this year and that is

Denise de Montreuil, the Editor of The Log. Thankfully, she continues in this position, and she does an amazing job of producing issue after issue of a fine journal, notwithstanding the tardiness of some her contributors…who shall remain nameless at this point! Her expertise and experience continues to support us by producing an interesting and informative journal.


As well as changes in our staff, we have had four changes in the Board.  Nichola Walkden stepped down to spend more time with her family, including and especially because of her new baby. We also had some returning faces and one new face. As I mentioned earlier, Saila Hull has re-joined the Board. Another “returner” is Steve Ruttan, who has come back as a Director after a recess of several years. Our “new kid on the block” is Mike Fenger. Mike has brought a new perspective, new energy and new expertise to our Board, and we are

pleased that he has joined us.


Two key groups have helped make 2004 a successful year. Members of the Friends provide us with critical financial support, through annual dues and donations. Without this support, we could not exist as an organization. And, of course, we thank the Wardens, those eyes and ears of the ecological reserve system, who provide an invaluable service not only to the provincial government, but also to the citizens of the province. To all of you, the Board, the staff, the members of the Friends and the Wardens, thank you for your work and support over the past year!


At last year’s annual general meeting, I set out some objectives for 2004 related to the Supporting the Wardens, Funding Research, Providing Outreach, and Keeping Effective. In recounting our activities over the past twelve months, I would like to refer back to these targets to see how well we have done.


Supporting the Wardens…over the past year, we have made some progress:

  • Assisted on the Warden’s Handbook, and supported BC Parks staff who is working on the revision.
  • Kept the idea of an annual gathering alive, and starting some initial planning for the next one in 2006.
  • Continued to keep a watchful eye on how governmental policies, plans and programs could affect the Wardens and the ecological reserve system, both positively and negatively. Over the past year, we held three meetings with Nancy Wilkin, the Assistant Deputy Minister of Environmental Stewardship in the Ministry for Water, Land and Air Protection. We also met several times with BC Parks staff.


Funding Research…this has been an important year in this area:

  • We initiated an assessment of the state of ecological reserves, and have made great strides.
  • We secured funding to advance our research program: this year we were very successful and hope to support as many as four or five research projects.


Providing Outreach: in 2004, we accomplished several objectives:

  • We co-operated with the Cowichan Valley Wardens who are working to produce educational material on ecoreserves.
  • We organized and held two successful field trips. On the Trial Island trip, we had 15 participants. On the Race Rocks trip, a total of 14 people participated plus several Pearson College students and Pearson guides, Gary Fletcher and Chris Blondeau.
  • We produced three issues of The Log, and explored the value of distributing it electronically. We plan on beginning electronic distribution to those who want it in the next few months.


Keeping Effective: the main tasks we accomplished in 2004 were:

  • Recruited three Board members – Saila, Mike and Steve – and now have eleven Directors.
  • We explored additional sources of funding, and met with some success with a grant from the BC government for our SER report.


All in all, we had a busy year, and have made some important progress in several areas.


Here are my thoughts on the year ahead for things we should try to complete. The list is not exhaustive, and I offer it for discussion and as a way of stimulating other ideas.


Supporting Wardens:

  • Work at completing the updating of the Wardens’ Handbook and orientation package.
  • Get serious about planning the next Gathering for 2006.
  • Continue keeping a watchful eye on governmental policies, plans and programs, and continue meeting with MWLAP staff and executive to communicate our concerns and our support.


Funding Research – in the coming year, I think we need to dedicate our efforts in four main areas:

  • Complete and publish the “State ofEcological Reserves Report.”
  • Develop a list of research topics that the Friends believe is needed, and encourage appropriately qualified researchers to submit proposals.
  • Compile a list of researchers who are interested in working in ecological reserves.
  • Continue to explore additional funding to advance our research program.


Providing Outreach:

  • Continue working on educational materials, in cooperation with interested clubs and organizations, e.g., revise the brochure on ER’s.
  • Organize field trips, with at least two in the Greater Victoria area (Trial Island and Race Rocks), and at least two elsewhere in the province.
  • Produce three issues of The Log, and distribute it electronically to those who ask for it.
  • Explore opportunities for joint membership in like-minded organizations, such as the Federation of B.C. Naturalists, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society and various land trusts.


Keeping Effective:

  • Continue to explore additional sources of funding, especially building on the State of ER report.
  • Make sure we continue to enjoy working together and sharing our passion for ecological reserves and the natural wonders of BC.


In closing my report, I want to once again thank all of those individuals who contributed to making 2004 a year to remember.