President’s Report By Mike Fenger


The Annual General Meeting is the time to reflect on the year past, take the lessons offered, and set the course for the year ahead. This is the strategy used by Don Eastman, our past president, and I will continue in the same manner.


First, thanks for the effort and energy of all Board members and our two support staff, Denise de Montreuil, Log Editor, and Tom Gillespie, our office manager/bookkeeper. Sadly, Santiago Alverez, our office manager for a good portion of last year, left. Thank you Santiago – your warm energy is missed. We were not successful in finding and training a replacement for Santiago, so it was agreed that Tom Gillespie in addition to book keeping could take on the role of office manager. Thank you Tom, this provides efficiencies and eliminates the need for training new staff to the duties of this little volunteer organization. Sadly, Denise our Log Editor is leaving after 3 years and editing nine top quality issues of The Log. Thank you so much for your persistence and dedication, you will be missed. Denise has a new blessing calling for her attention: congratulations



We remain a Board with eleven directors whose commitment to monthly meetings has produced an amazing level of activity and steady progress. It amazes me how much we get accomplished. It is a truly great team with diversity and experience, a good group to spend some time with, living up to the name “Friends”. Thanks are due to our members whose financial support we truly appreciate and on whose support we depend. And the backbone of the organization is the wardens, to whom we also extend very warm thanks for keeping watch over the ecological reserve system.


The year in review


Supporting the Wardens… Thanks to a steady effort, the Friends, together with MOE staff, completed the up-dated version of the Wardens Handbook which is available at conserve/er_warden_handbook__24ma y2005.pdf . There are plans to produce hard copies for wardens so they can have something more durable that transports better than home printer versions.


Funding Research… First, thanks to Lynn Milnes for providing continuity with our major funding supporters, without whom we would be unable to support researchers and students. Thanks to Evelyn Hamilton for applying her research background and expertise to review research proposals and make recommendations to the Board on the technical merit of proposals received. In this last year we were able to direct $28,000.00 from our donors to support the following research:

  • Tom Reimchen for his work on the Kermode bear and their relation to salmon. Tom provided an excellent and inspiring public lecture at the AGM 2006. Thank you Tom.
  • Jane Watson for continuation of her work on west coast marine ecosystems. Jane provided our public lecture for the 2005 AGM. Thank you Jane for the new insights into marine ecology.  

We were also able to support four university students:

  • Patrick Williston of Gentian Botanical Research,
  • Amy Wilson of the Centre for Applied Conservation at UBC,
  • Brad Fedy of the Centre of Applied Conservation Biology at UBC,
  • Carla Mellott working on her Masters of Science at the School of Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria and
  • Krista Roessingh also pursuing a Master of Science at the School of Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria.

Thank you all for contributing to our understanding of natural systems and ecological reserves. We are pleased to have been able to support your work.


Providing outreach… We produced three issues of The Log: Spring, Autumn and Winter. Check the website for back issues. Thank you Denise, this continues to be our face to the world. We completed two successful field trips to Race Rocks and Trial Island. Trial Island was a “media event” as we had the Victoria CBC crew in tow, local TV, visiting South American botanists and local botanists

Adolf and Oluna Ceska, who ably provided botanical commentary. Thanks to Mary Rannie and Marilyn Lambert for organizing these trips.


Keeping Effective… We held two meeting with Nancy Wilkin, Assistant Deputy of Environmental Stewardship Division in the Ministry of Environment and we have been in regular contact with Parks staff. I was asked to make a presentation on behalf of FER at a forum on Criteria and Indicators, the abstract is included in this issue (Page 14) and a link to site with the power point presentation is on the Forrex website at filereports/C&IForum2006.pdf.


We have completed, or I should say Alison Nicholson has completed, our final draft of the “State of Ecological Reserves of British Columbia”. This report was started as a co-op student work term by Morgan MacCarl who was guided by Peggy Frank, Saila Hull and myself. We so appreciate Alison’s fresh energy and her generous time and considerable skill in bringing this chapter to fulfillment. We will finally be placing the report in that spot we’ve been holding for some time on the web site under current news and issues.


Conclusion to the Gladys Lake Boundary issue… (see background article Winter 2005 Log). On March 29, 2006, Bill 15-2006 [Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act, 2006] went through Committee and Third Reading. This Bill contained the following amendments to the Protected Areas of British Columbia Act: section 2.The boundary of Gladys Lake Ecological Reserve was modified to remove 2, 499 hectares from the ecological reserve. These lands will be added to Spatsizi Plateau Wilderness Park. The boundary of Spatsizi Plateau Wilderness Park was modified to add the 2,499 hectares removed from Gladys Lake Ecological Reserve.


By directly participating in the assessment process last summer, we entered a new relationship with those closest to this largest of BC’s ERs: local guide outfitters the Collingwood Brothers and northern Parks Branch staff. As part of that new relationship a new ecological reserve, Grand Portage, is in the planning stages with field work scheduled this coming summer. BC Parks staff will complete a review of this area, undertake appropriate consultations, particularly with the Tahltan/Iskut First Nations, and advance a recommendation during the coming year. We owe real thanks to the northern Parks Branch staff who worked hard on this difficult long standing issue. Thank you to Janice Joseph and Larry Boudreau as well as to Reg and Ken Collingwood who collectively have brought this boundary issue to a successful conclusion. BC Parks staff will initiate a program to monitor the effects of grazing at the various sites identified that were removed from Gladys Lake Ecological Reserve and added to Spatsizi Plateau Wilderness Park. Thanks is also owed to Roberta Reader who provided pro bono legal advice to FER. Thank you Roberta.


The year ahead


Supporting the Wardens:

  • We will hold regional warden meetings together with MOE staff. (see Page 13 of this issue for details). Some Board members will be in attendance.
  • We will begin to recruit new wardens
  • We will post the State of BC Ecological Reserves Report


Funding Research:

  • We will strike a Science Advisory Board to increase the confidence of current and potential new donors so that they will be assured their funds are placed to highest and best use.
  • We will work closely with our existing donors and we will seek new ways to attract funds for research to Ecological Reserves.


Providing outreach:

  • We will continue to keep our website up-to-date and to work on educational materials with interested clubs and participate when invited to speak on the benefits of ER systems.
  • We will produce three issues of the The Log.


Keeping Effective:

  • We will strengthen the partnership with MOE staff and work to implement the recommendations in the State of ER Report findings.
  • We will renew and keep strong our relationship with existing donors and explore ways to attract new research funding.
  • A Board retreat is scheduled for June to develop a Vision and Mission Statement and to help guide the direction of FER and develop the scope of the Science Advisory Committee. Thanks to Colin Rankin for once again facilitating this weekend retreat.
  • We will advocate for new Ecological reserves in areas where they are most needed.
  • We will seek ways to increase our membership.