The central Island lost a truly unique individual last week with the passing of Maj Birch.
Birch began rehabbing animals in 1987 in northern B.C., and after certification in International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council basic skills, she moved to the Comox Valley with her husband Keith. Maj established the wildlife centre in 1995 on their three acres of property, gaining permits from Canadian Wildlife Service for migratory birds and permits for raptors and mammals from the BC Ministry of Environment. She completed the exam and MARS became a designated wildlife facility in 1996.
Recently she and the organization she created have been pursuing the creation of a new wildlife facility and Birch was tireless in lobbying for local government support throughout the central Island region.
MARS has been active in the Campbell River area drawing volunteers and supporters from north of the Oyster River. Many a wild bird has been found by residents who knew that MARS was the organization to call. Many of those injured birds were then returned to the area and released healthy and capable of continuing a wild and free life enriching our environment with their return.
That was Birch’s legacy, an ongoing organization committed to rehabilitating wildlife and returning it healthy back to the environment. In this day and age of the loss of species, disappearing habitat and the threatened continued existence of wildlife, Birch, through her organization will continue the fight to preserve the wild birds that in many ways symbolize the wild and free nature of life in this beautiful region.
Birch was planning on retiring from the operation of MARS, an indication that her legacy could now stand on its on two feet and continue on the necessary work protecting and advocating for wildlife.
She will be missed but her spirit lives on the wild birds we see each day in the skies around our communities.