Efforts by two individuals to save land on Savary Island were recognized recently when Savary Island Land Trust executive director Liz Webster and Friends of Savary member John O’Neill were presented with the Nature Trust of BC 2018 Conservation Champion Award. The award was presented at the organization’s gala last month.
“It's a real honour to receive the award,” said Webster. “It's pretty exciting because so much of the community was involved in the project for so many years. Many people dedicated lots of energy to this over the last 20 years, and we did it.”
All of the funds came from the Savary Island community, with a record number of private donors for one land trust project. Of the $4 million needed to be raised, O’Neill and a group of prominent Vancouver business leaders, who are part of Friends of Savary, were instrumental in raising the final funds needed to purchase 360 acres of land on Savary. Webster alone raised more than $1 million.
The Heart of Savary project was something new for the Nature Trust of BC, according to Savary Island Land Trust chair Melissa Noel. She said it was the slowest land acquisition process on record.
The acquisition of the land was announced by the Nature Trust in June. The achievement by Webster, O’Neill and the Savary community ensures the land and important examples of coastal sand dunes, old forest and second-growth forest, and habitat for two at-risk plants, will be protected.
Savary Island is located 24 kilometres northwest of Powell River.