Thursday, Nov 2, 2017
Forest for the Trees
Blaauw gives eco area a cash boost
By Lionda Munroe
Blaauw forest was given to Trinity U in 2013. Handout photo.
rinity Western University announces plans to build an interpretive trail and boardwalk at its Blaauw Eco Forest bio-geography field station in Langley, B.C. that will enhance field study opportunities for biology and environmental studies students now and in the future. Since the Blaauw Eco Forest was gifted to the university in 2013, environmental studies students have discovered 336 species in the forest including the red-legged frog and Pacific sideband snail, both are species at risk.
Thanks to today's financial gift of $125,000 from the Blaauw family, the university is able to construct an interpretive trail and boardwalk in the 35-acre nature reserve that will improve access to the field research area and enhance the visitor experience for the local community. The interpretive trail and boardwalk is expected to be completed by the summer of 2018.
"This is an exciting addition for TWU. The Blaauw Eco Forest is conveniently close to campus, making it a great learning place for students," says Dr. David Clements, co-chair of TWU's Department of Geography and Environment. "This prime research area, together with our field school on Salt Spring Island and other travel studies opportunities, offer our students a unique, hands-on field-based program in environmental studies. The Blaauw family's generous gift will provide much improved access for students and visitors alike, as well as helping to protect the sensitive wetland habitat."
TWU's Salt Spring Island field station, Crow's Nest Ecological Reserve Area (CNERA), provides students with an opportunity to spend a month on the island with hands-on learning in plants and marine life. The CNERA features examples of highly diverse Garry Oak meadow ecosystems – one of the most threatened ecosystems anywhere in Canada. "We had to build everything here from the ground up and we did it in a sustainable way," says Chris Hall, TWU's Outdoor Lab Supervisor.