President’s Report

By Mike Fenger


It has been a very successful year thanks to efforts of Board members, wardens, and supporters of Friends of Ecological Reserves. We have made real progress and I am reminded of the words of Margaret Mead who said, “Never doubt that a small, group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Friends of Ecological Reserves are just such as group.


The Year in Review


Tom Reimchen, at the 2006 AGM, provided his insightful lecture on Kermodi bears and re-enforced the importance of supporting research into natural areas such as Ecological Reserves. We were pleased to present Tom a cheque for $5,000.00 to continue his research.


Thanks to a June Board Retreat and the skill of our facilitator Colin Rankin, we now have a strategic plan with a mission statement “to support the role of Ecological Reserves in furthering understanding of natural processes and human interactions.”


There are five areas in the newly minted Strategic Plan that form an excellent framework to report on the activities from March 2006 to March 2007.


Goal 1:  To support the protection and management of a strong Ecological Reserve System through a strong warden program, systematic inventory and monitoring, timely assessment of reserves and an effective government presence, especially where ERs are most at risk.



  • Thanks to a grant from Ministry of Environment regional warden meetings were held so government staff and wardens could renew the partnership and coordinate efforts on care of ecological reserves. Thanks go to Elizabeth Purkiss, Eva Durance, Bev Ramey, and Marilyn Lambert for getting these off the ground. Thanks also goes to Nancy Wilkin for providing the funds to make this happen and to Scott Benton who approved participation of area supervisors. (See Winter for details of these regional warden meetings.)
  • The State of Ecological Reserves Report, two years in the making, was released in November 2006. The condition of a third of reserves was rated as poor to very poor and only half the reserves had wardens to assist in a watchdog role. Baseline plants and animals inventorying and a data management system is largely incomplete.
  • Looking ahead to 2007- 08, FER will be working with Ministry staff to recruit new wardens where wardens want to step down or where we do not currently have a warden. (see Minister’s letter of support in this issue for warden recruitment). There are also two regional area supervisor/ranger staff to fill.


Goal 2:  To support the study of Ecological Reserves that builds understanding of ecosystem resiliency, ecological process and natural elements.



  • A science panel to advise on research priorities was formed (see Autumn ) Evelyn Hamilton, Dr. Art Tautz, Dr. Jenny Balke and, Dr. Adolf Ceska all rose to the occasion when asked to guide FER research priorities and respond to proposals. There was, however no call for new proposals this year as there were no surplus funds for research. Funding was continued to Tom Reimchen for his research into Kermodi bears and to Jane Watson for her work on marine ecology.
  • Moving forward, we expect to develop strategic research priorities and to reach out to research organizations and to Ministry of Environment to make these known. We will continue to seek funding to support research of natural systems.


Goal 3: To support the development of a resilient and enduring science based reserve system.



  • A paper was presented by Mike Fenger and Matthew Wheatley at the Parks and Protected Areas Research Forum in December on gaps in natural research benchmarks with a focus on representative watersheds in the mountain pine beetle affected forests in the interior of BC.
  • Looking ahead to 2007- 08, we expect to be able to indicate where the biggest gaps in the Ecological Reserve system are found and to work with other interested groups and organizations on a strategy to fill these natural area benchmark gaps. To be successful this initiative of a network of natural research watersheds will need to involve government, industry, research organizations, conservation organizations and First Nations.


Goal 4:  To raise awareness of the value of ecological reserves among targeted groups, including: local and provincial elected officials; public civil servants; and neighbours of ecological reserves.



  • The FER website is a critical link to getting our  information on ER out to a wider readership.
  • The board outlined the findings of the State of Ecological Reserves Report in a letter to the Minister of the Environment (Minister Penner).
  • The Board met with the Minister in November and discussed how to address concerns raised by the report.
  • The Minister responded to FER and has agreed to recruit wardens.
  • A letter of concern was sent to the Ministry of Environment regional staff regarding Vance Creek ER and the expansion on Silver Star that potentially impacts this reserve. (See letter on page 13)
  • Looking ahead we hope to take the Minister or senior Environment staff on the Trail Island ER April 29th field trip.


Goal 5:  To sustain a nurturing and effective organization that supports the maintenance and development of ecological reserves and concepts underpinning them.



  • The new Editor, Louise Beinhauer, completed the Autumn and Winter Logs using a new format.
  • Board held a retreat on Hornby.
  • Field trips to Trial Island and Race Rocks were held.
  • We will work with Ministry staff to implement the measures in the Minister’s letter. Looking ahead, the Board is planning to visit some of the ERs on the east side of Vancouver Island with the wardens.
  • We will have a board member as part of the team reviewing boundaries of the Grand Portage, a proposed Ecological Reserve within the Spatsizi area, near Gladys Lake ER.
  • We will seek ways to fund raise and to increase membership in FER as well as securing research funding.


Two board members have stepped down this year. We all owe them a huge thank you for putting their shoulders to the wheel. Don Eastman served a two-year term as President and a two-year term as past president. Don provided continuity and has served FER admirably and will be missed. Thank you Don for your service.  Saila Hull served as treasurer over the past three years and lent considerable much needed youthful energy and optimism to meetings. We miss you Saila.


We are pleased to have Garry Fletcher join the Board and bring his considerable experience as warden of Race Rocks. His skill in garnering research funds and projects and extending these with his award-winning web site will be greatly appreciated. Thank you Garry for stepping up at this time.