KELÁ_EKE Kingfisher Forest

KELÁ_EKE Kingfisher Forest is a 45 acre conservation property located on S,DÁYES (Pender Island), WSÁNEĆ Territory.

Photo by Oliver Tweedie.

We’ve raised $2.18 million! Thank you for your help!

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The campaign to protect KELÁ_EKE Kingfisher Forest 

The purchase of KELÁ_EKE Kingfisher Forest was Raincoast’s second land protection campaign undertaken in partnership with the Pender Islands Conservancy. It was incredibly ambitious with a one year timeline and a campaign budget exceeding $2 million.  We launched our fundraising campaign in late December 2022 and successfully announced the property’s protection in late January 2023.

About the land

 KELÁ_EKE Kingfisher Forest links wetland headwaters to the sea across 45 acres of Coastal Douglas-fir forests and its associated habitats, including undeveloped intertidal foreshore overlooking the critical habitat of Southern Resident killer whales. From this rocky shoreline, neighbouring SḴŦOḴEȽ (Mayne) and ṮEḴTEḴSEN (Saturna) Islands can be seen beyond rafts of scoters, buffleheads, mergansers, cormorants, horned grebes, Barrow’s goldeneye, and gulls that forage in the subtidal waters through the winter months. 

Pairs of belted kingfishers patrol the shore, defending their nest burrows that line the embankment overlooking the rich intertidal zone below. At this marine-terrestrial interface, nutrients from the forest enrich the marine waters while marine-derived nutrients are delivered to the forest by raven, kingfisher, and otter, supporting the shallow soils in a cycle of reciprocity as ancient as the land itself. 

An abutting wetland, Gardom Pond, provides important bird and amphibian habitat. This freshwater pond has retained its capacity to hold water year-round despite human alterations. The site hosts buffleheads and song sparrows in the slough sedges and bulrushes that line the shore. Red-winged blackbirds nest here every year, and threatened northern red-legged frogs find their ideal habitat in the still waters and heavily vegetated shoreline of this cattail marsh. In total, over 100 bird species are known to call this forest home, including several that are federally recognized as threatened or of special concern.

Belted Kingfisher sitting on a branch in a forest.
Photo by Tilaï Ellis-Stairs.

Behind the name: KELÁ_EKE Kingfisher Forest

KELÁ_EKE is the SENĆOŦEN name for Razor Point, that lies on the shores of Plumper Sound. According to Dave Elliot Sr., member of the Tsartlip Nation and author of Saltwater People, KELÁ_EKE refers to their observation of a distinct population of inland crows whose calls differ from other crow populations around the Salish Sea. Belted Kingfishers, T̸ETĆELE in SENĆOŦEN, are widespread across North America. Though listed as a species of least concern, their population numbers have been in decline for the past two decades largely due to their sensitivity to human disturbance. Kingfishers need access to bodies of water for feeding and earthen banks for nesting. They are often spotted perching above still water to scout their prey prior to diving in headfirst to snatch a fish. Their reliance on the interface between land and water make kingfishers the perfect namesake for this coastal property.

This campaign was made possible due to the  support of many individuals and organizations