Local conservation group desperate for donations

  • Oct. 10, 2003 7:00 a.m.

By Heidi Bevington-The Laskeek Bay Conservation Society’s 14th year may be its last if money doesn’t materialize soon to pay the bills, and the society recently sent out a letter asking for help from islanders and others who support the society’s work.
Laskeek Bay, a non-profit society promoting conservation, biological research and education, needs to raise about $150,000, said administrator Greg Martin. The money pays to operate the society’s field camp on Laskeek Island and its office in Queen Charlotte, for staff and equipment, and to support its school outreach program. No major funders have promised money yet, Mr. Martin said.
The problem is the society depends on grants from foundations for funding, Mr. Martin said. Many of those foundations were endowed by technology companies, and had lots of technology stock. Now, with the decline in the stock market, foundations have about a third of the cash they had when the stock market was soaring in the late 1990s. Non-governmental organizations across North America are all feeling the pinch as they compete for scarce funds, he said.
Laskeek Bay began in 1989 doing research on the ancient murrelet, a sea bird that nests on Laskeek Island. Since then, the society has branched into other areas of research including songbirds, sea mammals, introduced species and abalone. The society hoped to gather 25 years of data about sea bird populations to have meaningful information about species population, Mr. Martin said. Funding shortages will jeopardize the research’s future.
One of the most high profile programs the society runs on the islands is its school outreach where students from secondary and intermediate grades go to Limestone to participate in research. Schools fundraise for this field trip, and the Gwaii Trust helps support the program as well, but some of the money comes from Laskeek Bay’s own coffers.
The society has submitted many funding proposals to a variety of foundations. “We’ve got lots of tackle in the water right now,” Mr. Martin said, but so far the society has not received a positive answer from anybody.
They recently sent a letter to islanders asking for money and ideas to keep the society afloat. If you want to donate money or can suggest an organization that might have funds, contact the society at 559-2345. For more information about the society’s work, check out www.laskeekbay.org.