Things slow on the way into winter. This year it certainly feels like you and I have earned some respite. Dealing with losses that COVID-19 has caused takes a toll. There is the stress of an invisible threat, frustration, and a shift to a world very different from the familiar. Restrictions on travel and social interaction have made many of us more aware of our immediate surroundings. Maybe this is your balcony, garden, local park, forest or coast. With this slowing down and isolation comes an opportunity for refreshed appreciation of our natural surroundings, the solace we find there, and the mental health benefits of simply spending time in nature.
Like everyone else in 2020, we have had to adapt and explore our own resilience. From pausing multi-year field research programs, cancelling youth education and our usual travel throughout the coast, COVID has disrupted much. Yet we are grateful to have our health and play our part in protecting and supporting the communities, businesses, and individuals we work with. We also remain mindful that stressors around security and life requisites are ones that BC’s coastal wildlife also know.
Our work is shaped by the relationships we make. The timeline of our work in the Lower Fraser River, outlined in Tracking, is a good example. Over six years, we have built a conservation program that is unpacking the complexities of this highly degraded system, studying its current state, and using that knowledge to address immediate threats while realizing opportunities to restore habitat and ecological function. We have taken steps toward a restoration of sound ecological governance. This means building relationships necessary for change and identifying priorities informed by science and Indigenous rights.
Further examples this year include our continued advocacy that has maintained more stringent recovery measures for Southern Resident killer whales. We have piloted new outreach and education efforts. Our scientific research continues to inform policy and we have reached millions around the world via media engagement. Perhaps most significantly, we successfully raised funds to safeguard the wolves and bears of the 5000 km2 Kitlope Valley. We purchased the commercial hunting tenure in time to share the news with Wa’xaid, Cecil Paul Sr., elder of the Xenaksiala Nation, before he left this world. Cecil’s story is one of remarkable resilience that inspired the original protection of the Kitlope, and moved thousands of people around the world, including many at Raincoast.
The pages of Tracking tell stories like this, and while we pause to mourn losses and recognize the challenges we all face, we do not lose sight of the opportunities before us. Our plan to acquire and permanently protect the S’DÁYES Flycatcher Forest is a new initiative driven by a sense of urgency appropriate to protecting old Coastal-Douglas Fir forests that are disappearing from the coast.
All of us at Raincoast miss these places, our colleagues, friends, and collaborators. We miss the opportunity to interact and share our gratitude with people like you who champion and support our work.
It’s the places we work and the relationships we develop that inspire us and give us resilience.
Whether you support us each month or choose to donate once a year, please know that you enable the projects reported in the pages of Tracking – what we have achieved and what we plan to accomplish. As we look forward to 2021, we share this year’s Tracking with our immense gratitude. Thank you, please enjoy.