Greenways Land Trust communications and outreach coordinator Jill Fraser shows off some of the cards that will be mailed out in the organization’s ‘Sponsor a Species’ initiative. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

Giving the gift of a healthier ecosystem through Greenways’ Sponsor a Species initiative

Dedicate a donation to habitat restoration and conservation this holiday season

Greenways Land Trust has a new way to give something valuable to a loved one this holiday season.

It’s the organization’s new “Sponsor a Species” initiative, which encourages people to contribute to the organization’s goals of restoring and protecting wildlife habitat in our region, while spreading information about some animals that may not always get the attention they deserve.

Greenways’ communications and outreach coordinator Jill Fraser says the idea came about from something she remembers fondly from her childhood.

“We wanted a fun way to donate this holiday season while doing something positive for the environment and the community,” Fraser says.

“I remember when I was a kid, what I would always ask for for my birthday every year was to sponsor a marmot. It was so much fun, and I though it would be fun to bring that to something local here with Greenways.”

So this year, you can give a donation to Greenways – and pick an animal off the sponsorship list – and dedicate the gift to a friend or family member, who will receive a card in the mail thanking them for their sponsorship, with a brief description of the animal and what Greenways is doing to help.

The animals – and one mushroom, in fact – were selected because they’re all native to our region and are all struggling with habitat degradation and encroachment. They are the western screech owl, the pacific tree frog, the black bear, the fly agaric mushroom, the bald eagle and the pink salmon.

“You can find all these species in and around our community, and their habitat is all being threatened, especially because they thrive in riparian areas, which is also prime for development,” Fraser says.

While the choice of a specific species is more symbolic than actual, Fraser says, you can know that in selecting one from the list, your money is going towards repairing and conserving the habitat in which all six of them thrive.

It’s an eco-friendly gift for people in another way, too.

Whether it’s over-packaged electronics, toys or other mass-produced gifts purchased off Amazon, there’s a lot of waste produced over the holidays, Fraser says, “and this is definitely a way to give a more eco-friendly gift where they can really feel they’re making a difference in a few ways,” she says. “There’s even an option to go totally green and send the card as an e-card, so you can be completely paperless if you want.”

Visit greenways.ca/holiday-gift-guide to take a look at the fundraiser and start selecting animals you want to donate and people you’d like to dedicate the sponsorship to.

The organization would like to thank not only those who consider sponsoring an animal this holiday season, but also the photographers who donated the beautiful images of the animals that will be used on the cards: Eiko Jones (eikojonesphotography) and Steve Williamson (stevewphotography.ca).

“We got so lucky that they wanted to be involved,” Fraser says. “These images are so beautiful.”

For more on the initiative, contact Fraser directly by email at Jill@greenwaystrust.ca or call the office at 250-287-3785.

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miked@campbellrivermirror.com

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