Denman Island group turning 21

The Denman Conservancy Association will celebrate its 21st birthday on Saturday evening with a grand gathering.

A DENMAN CONSERVANCY Association work party builds a boardwalk across Graveyard Marsh in Central Park on Denman Island. DCA celebrates its 21st birthday on Saturday.

The Denman Conservancy Association (DCA) will celebrate its 21st birthday on Saturday evening with a grand gathering at the Denman Island Senior’s Hall.

Science journalist Bob McDonald — who is known for the CBC Radio program Quirks & Quarks and is the national science commentator for CBC Television — will make a presentation at the event.

Des Kennedy, a founder of DCA and well-known gardener, will be master of ceremonies for the evening, which kicks off at 7:30 p.m., with doors opening at 7.

“As a founding director of Denman Conservancy, I have no doubts that the association has played an historic role in ensuring that significant natural areas of the island may remain intact in perpetuity,” says Kennedy.

DCA was started by a group of concerned islanders in 1990 who realized that maintaining natural ecosystems on Denman Island was a special challenge that arose from the very high percentage of land in private ownership on the island. The association was incorporated in 1991.

An early focus of the fledgling Conservancy was the preservation of the Lindsay-Dickson Forest, a 54-hectare parcel of woodland and natural foreshore. It took 10 years of fundraising, a court case, negotiations and government lobbying but in June 2001 the Islands Trust Fund (ITF) acquired the property. It is now managed by DCA as the Lindsay Dickson Nature Reserve.

In 1991, with strong support from the community, DCA bought the two parcel nine-hectare Pickles Road Woods, which was then transferred to the ITF for preservation. This was the first conservation property owned by the ITF. Adjacent to an existing 23-hectare Crown reserve surrounding a large beaver pond, these parcels make up the Inner Island Nature Reserve.

DCA purchased the 2.5-hectare parcel now called Winter Wren Wood in 2000. Abutting the Chickadee Lake parcel and linking to Crown lands, the property is part of a protective ring around the lake.

DCA has also established Conservation Covenants on various parts of the island, owned publicly and privately. It now holds covenants on 60.7 hectares of private land, but counting the covenants on nature reserves and Crown land, a total 196 hectares are protected in this way.

“At the beginning we were just small group of people who wanted to save some of Denman Island’s beautiful forest land for future generations,” says Susan-Marie Yoshihara, a DCA founding director. “We didn’t know how we were going to do it but we knew that it had to be done. The community support has always been overwhelming, everybody just pitched in however they could. I’m amazed at what the Denman community has accomplished in just 21 years.”

The locations and detailed description of all DCA land interests can be found on its website at www.denmanconservancy.org along with more details of the history and management objectives for these properties.

Everyone is welcome to attend Saturday’s event and advance tickets are available at Abraxas Books on Denman Island. Ticket prices are $20 for adults, $10 for teens and $5 for children under 12.

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