Volunteers Shelley Creelman and Joy Jeffries work on some of the taxidermy items rescued from the Natural History Centre, which was situated in the Hornby Island Community School. Photo supplied

Restoration efforts underway for popular Hornby Island nature exhibit

Volunteers are fundraising to save the Hornby Island Natural History Centre’s northern Gulf Island treasures, specimens, and artifacts after the recent school fire.

In the early morning of Aug. 26, a fire at the Hornby Island Community School caused a third of the building to burn down and the rest to be damaged by smoke and water.

Since the early 1990s, this vibrant community school has been home to a Natural History Exhibit, which later became the Hornby Island Natural History Centre, a popular attraction that showcasing the unique environment of the island and offering educational programs.

Unfortunately, because of the fire, the entire natural history collection suffered serious damage from smoke and fine soot.

A dedicated group of volunteers, five of whom are retired staff from the school, are now in the process of removing the collection from the building, preparing it for restoration, maintenance, and eventual relocation, which they hope will be back to the school once it is rebuilt.

Natural History volunteer, Tina Wai, who taught K-1 in the school for many years, said that after the fire many people from both on and off-island expressed concern about the collection.

“One former student came up to me and the first thing she asked was, ‘Is the snowy owl okay?’”

The school children feel ownership of the exhibit. Since the beginning, they have helped build it by donating found specimens and raising money to preserve them on display.

The collection includes displays on forests and minerals, geology, fossils and bones, entomology, marine life, herring life cycle, shell midden, mammals, raptors and small birds. It offers fascinating geological information on the diverse rock formations that make up Hornby Island, world class fossils including giant ammonites unique to the island, and a wonderful collection of taxidermied local bird specimens.

The Natural History Centre also offers student focused activities, nature walks, expert speakers, and workshops.

Since the fire, many people have expressed their concern about the Natural History Collection and a GoFundMe page has been started to support the restoration efforts.

“We are dedicated to making the collection and our educational outreach programs available to the public in the future and to ensure that these continue to help people deepen their connection with and respect for the natural environment,” said Wai.

To donate towards the restoration and re-establishment of the Hornby Island Natural History Centre, visit https://bit.ly/2NEyiWi

The Community School is also fundraising to rebuild. To help with the School Renewal Fund, visit https://hornbyeducation.com/school-renewal-fund/

Just Posted

No injuries after vehicle knocks boat into house

Alcohol and speed may have been a factor

Preliminary inquiry for Island resident facing numerous charges in Comox Valley shooting

A 27-year-old Saanich resident had his preliminary hearing in Courtenay Wednesday as… Continue reading

VIDEO: This is what buying legal pot in B.C. looks like

Take a look inside B.C.’s first and only legal pot shop located in Kamloops

VIDEO: Leaf Compassion celebrates legalization in Courtenay

Leaf Compassion in Courtenay celebrated the official legalization of marijuana in Courtenay… Continue reading

Man injured in Vancouver Island racetrack accident meets, holds son for first time

Kayden was born the day after Jonathan was crushed by car at speedway

Mellow opening to B.C.’s only legal pot shop

About five people lined up early for the opening of the BC Cannabis Store in Kamloops.

Jagmeet Singh says marijuana pardons are not enough

Trudeau government will streamline pardon process for Canadians convicted of simple possession of marijuana in the past

Caregivers banned from smoking, growing cannabis around children-in-care: MCFD

Ministry has limited cannabis use for caregivers, stating it may “pose a risk to children and youth.”

Cheaper strains sell out within minutes on online BC Cannabis Store

Province says new strains will become available in the coming months

Only 40% of B.C. car dealerships have electric cars available: report

Researchers found buyers frustrated at the lack of options

VIDEO: Millionaire Lottery returns to give back and win big

Since 1996, Millionaire Lottery has raised $52 million for the VGH+UBC Hospital Foundation

Test case challenges a politician’s right to block people from Twitter account

3 people say Watson infringed their constitutional right to freedom of expression by blocking them

‘A little odd’ B.C.’s biggest city celebrates cannabis without a legal store

On the streets of downtown Vancouver, notably the Wild West of illegal marijuana, not a single legal store opened Wednesday, making for a rather anticlimatic kick-off

Most Read