As environmental champions review what’s being lost and what may yet be gained from the world-wide Biodiversity Conference in Montreal this past week, some of us are looking back on the year 2022 asking: how are we doing here at home with our community conservation efforts? Can we count any successes this year? The answer is Yes !
2022 was the year Saanich earned Nature Canada designation as a Bird Friendly City, one of just nine such cities certified so far in Canada.
To earn certification, the District of Saanich worked in collaboration with Nature Canada’s partners including Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary to make our municipality a safer and better place for bird populations to thrive.
Why? Because birds play an essential role in maintaining healthy, resilient ecosystemsto say nothing of having as much intrinsic value as any other species on the planet some would claim. There are three billion fewer birds in North America today than 50 years ago. And 4.2 billion more humans. Much of the decline in bird populations is due to human activity. As urban expansion continues, says Nature Canada, we must act quickly to ensure birds and their habitat are protected.
What can we do?
To become a Bird Friendly–certified city a Bird Team was created with Phaedra Otwey Community Education Assistant at Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary leading Saanich’s team.
That Saanich has been “certified a Bird Friendly City with Nature Canada – the first one on Vancouver Island – is beyond exciting,” says Phaedra. The process to certification revealed all of the incredible action that this district has and is taking towards the conservation and protection of birds, wildlife, and our incredible ecosystems. It also demonstrated just how many dedicated people and organizations in our community are working hard to continue making Saanich as beneficial and safe to wildlife as it is to us. This has been a truly inspiring initiative to be a part of and I am so thrilled that it will connect so many more people to the wonderful world of birds! This certification is only the beginning of Saanich’s commitment to birds. I’m so excited to see what will come next!”
Eva Riccius, on the BirdTeam in her role as Saanich Senior Manager of Parks says, “This initiative fits directly with our Natural Intelligence program which encourages every resident to have a positive connection with nature locally. We’re excited about raising awareness of birds in Saanich and sharing some actions that residents can take to increase our bird friendliness.”
Dec 17 Participate in Greater Victoria’s Annual Christmas Bird Count, even from your own backyard. ChristmasBirdCount.ca to find a team or for backyard feeder form.
Coming up –
Friends of Cedar Hill Park Bird Count update.