During the two years ending on March 31, 2012 funding from Environment Canada supported DCA’s Landkeepers Program. Modeled on the very successful “Streamkeepers” program that trains people to help conservation organizations manage streams and rivers around the province, the “Landkeepers” program trained volunteers of all ages to help DCA manage the six properties under its care, namely Winter Wren Wood, Central Park, the Settlement Lands and the 3 Nature Reserves that DCA manages under contract for the Islands Trust Fund. Over that two-year period a number of activities took place intended to bring the DCA closer to that goal.
The project started with a recruitment drive that continued through the length of the grant with roughly 49 individuals taking part in Landkeepers activities. Of the 49 volunteers a core of 12 people have committed to be regular participants in the program post grant. The remaining 37 participants have stated an interest in continued involvement and have asked to be kept informed of the program over time.
Activities were generally divided between indoor sessions and field work. Indoor sessions consisted of training workshops such as using GPS instruments and providing background on the threatened Taylor’s Checkerspot Butterflies before going into the field.
Some indoor sessions consisted of Assemblies which proved to be an effective group building, community outreach and input garnering endeavor. The Assemblies focused on the role Landkeepers would play within the DCA organization, what constitutes monitoring, historical perspectives on lands under DCA care, management committees and the roles of Conservation Covenants in preserving lands on Denman Island.
Input coming from the Assemblies made it clear that the first step in training needed to be familiarizing the volunteers with the lands. With this in mind 46 field sessions were organized. Some of these sessions began with classroom work that led to field visits. Field sessions were primarily training exercises but also consisted of trail building, border marking and invasive species removal. The training facet of Landkeepers is ongoing. It is anticipated that as Landkeepers become more familiar with the lands a more in-depth training will ensue designed to answer questions about the ecology of the land and management issues as they arise.
Notably one of the Landkeepers voluntarily organized weekly visits to Central Park starting in early March and ending in late June to monitor the arrival of Migratory Birds to our area (2011).
The Baseline Report needed to draft the the Railway Grade Marsh Management Plan was completed with Landkeeper participation. Some Landkeepers have volunteered to assist in the drafting of the the RGM Management Plan.
A Management Committee for the Lindsay Dickson Nature Reserve called the Friends of Lindsay Dickson was organized which has taken on the role of fulfilling the DCA’s commitments to the Islands Trust Fund under its management agreement.
Landkeepers’ work continues under the direction of DCA’s part time Land Manager.
Thanks to our Sponsor
The DCA would like to acknowledge and thank Environment Canada for its assistance in starting up the Landkeepers Program.