by Valerie Jaeger
Water Always Wins was the title of the keynote presentation at the Metchosin Foundation’s AGM on September 7th. Erica Gies, author of the bestselling book by the same name, gave a talk at once sobering yet hopeful, spiritual yet practical and always enthralling. While the vision of the Metchosin Foundation is ‘Healthy lands and waters – the foundation for a healthy community’, the work of the foundation has focused to a great extent on land.
The introduction to what Gies calls the ‘Slow Water movement’ was well received by the 33 members and supporters in attendance. Surviving in a time of drought and deluge will require less push to control water and more understanding of what it is that water really wants, because water always wins. Examples of finding ways to slow down the movement of water and thereby increase the time during which water is available downstream were discussed: improving the hyporheic zones of urban streams forced underground, reintroducing beavers whose activity raises water tables and decreases downstream flooding, learning from indigenous people in Peru who enable water to more effectively enter the underground aquifer.
Erica divides her time between Victoria and San Francisco and was happy to connect with a local group such as the Metchosin Foundation which is passionate about conservation. Promises were made to continue the exchange of ideas and Erica’s website is now linked here. To listen to the audio recording of Erica’s keynote speech given at the Metchosin Foundation AGM click here .
Every registered charity has a lifecycle and the Metchosin Foundation is no exception. This year the Metchosin Foundation said good-bye to Nicole Lalonde as treasurer. It was with sadness that we accepted the fact that she had completed her term! Nicole has supported the Metchosin Foundation since its inception in many capacities – bookkeeper, supporter, director, treasurer, and mentor. After working alongside Nicole for a year, Mairi McKinnon has agreed to take on many of the bookkeeping responsibilities for the Metchosin Foundation and we are most grateful. At the invitation of VP Morgan Yates, each director gave a summary of projects for which he/she had been responsible. As part of this, Heloise Nicholl was invited to bring comments from the perspective of a new director. In February, we had welcomed Heloise to the board. She has been a wonderful addition and her appointment was formally ratified at this AGM. Heloise gave her perspective on not just being part of the Metchosin Foundation, but on why she is part of such a small demographic – people her age who volunteer. Challenges facing her generation make it almost impossible for its members to volunteer at all, anywhere. What we heard was profound and moving. Her words echoed in the very souls of those who were listening and were a resounding call to us in Metchosin as a community.
The Foundation has had a wonderful year. Our welcome task of working for healthy lands and waters, has perhaps never been harder because of external forces and yet, somehow, has never been more fruitful. 2021 saw the historic signing of the Standstill Agreement by Sc’ianew First Nation and other parties to explore the possible creation of an Indigenous Protected Area at Mary Hill. The Metchosin Foundation had provided consistent support for background work leading to this point and was honored to speak at the signing ceremony. 2021 was also a successful year financially which allowed for increased money for our scholarship recipients, continuance of existing programs such as Flying Insect Biomass study and Moralea Milne Meadow Restoration project, and participation in new projects such as Garry Oak Mycorrhizal Study and Butterfly Flyway projects involving school children and native plants.
The work of the Metchosin Foundation is a test of design thinking – balancing seeming opposites within an environment whose external changing parameters are beyond our control. All of our projects, small and large, have within them the tension of time; our actions now are the basis for contributing to a better ‘later’. Thanks to the foundation’s amazing group of directors, members, and supporters, even while working within our statutory requirement as a registered charity to be apolitical, we have found results in a social landscape where ethics and science themselves are sometimes viewed as political.
Just because something is priceless, does not mean that it is ethically devalued by putting a price on it! And so, we raise money; that is what foundations do. To every donor this year – Thank you! If anyone would like to learn more or contribute to our work, please go to metchosinfoundation.ca