Riparian and Wetland areas in the Okanagan Valley and across Canada are one of our most threatened habitats. By giving green gifts, you c an help save these and other fragile habitats and the species that inhabit them.
Dreaming of A Green Christmas
Most Canadians are relatively well off and have far more material goods than we realistically need, and yet when Christmas comes around we often find ourselves spending fairly significant amounts of money to add even more unneeded and often unwanted “things” to our families’ and friends’ hoard of goods. It need not be that way – today there are a great many ways to make Christmas “green”, sustainable and meaningful. We can help nature and help the poverty stricken and instill a sense of caring in our children and grandchildren.
Many individuals have taken to giving nature gifts which can range from “adoption” of a wild animal, large or small, to purchase of badly needed habitat. The possibilities are nearly endless so I’m going to mention only a few with local connections:
The Land Conservancy of BC offers two programs: an animal adoption program whereby the gift recipient receives a plush toy animal that represents the animal being “adopted” along with a personalized adoption certificate and a brochure explaining how your adoption will help save the animal in question. The second program entails “buying” an acre of critical habitat. The gift recipient receives a personalized certificate and a booklet featuring facts and photos about the project being aided. You can get these gifts on line (http://blog.conservancy.bc.ca) or at TLC’s local office at 262 Main St, Penticton.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada has a similar habitat “purchase” program with each gift recipient receiving a personalized certificate and a full-colour wildlife and landscape calendar. Order on line at: www.natureconservancy.ca
Bird Studies Canada has an even more sophisticated “adoption” program. When you adopt one of their Project Recovery birds (there are 21 different species of birds available for adoption) not only does your gift recipient get a certificate but they also get a photo and details about the banding of a real bird (unique to each gift) and details about that species. If the bird is ever recaptured, the recipient gets the details so they can see where the bird has traveled. Order online at : www.bsc-eoc.org/shopping/shop.jsp
Still another way to make Christmas meaningful is to give the gift of helping impoverished people achieve a sustainable life. From seeds to chickens to goats you can help a family break out of their cycle of poverty by purchasing needed supplies or animals through one of the many gift giving programs. You can purchase sustainable gifts through Ten Thousand Villages on Front St in Penticton or on line at www.giftsthatmatter.ca
The interesting thing is that you can make your money go further through these programs in that all of these give you a tax deduction and if you give through CHF “giftsthatmatter” the Canadian Government Agency CIDA donates $3 for each $1 that you give.
How much better can it get? You help save an endangered animal or habitat and/or help an impoverished family get on track and you get some money back on your income tax. And you’ll feel good too! Truly a win-win situation.
The South Okanagan Naturalists’ Club meets each month, usually on the fourth Thursday of the month. However our December meeting always meets on the Sunday of the Penticton Christmas Bird Count, this year being December 19. Instead of a speaker, Dick Cannings and others will report on the numbers of birds counted that day during the Bird Count. The meeting features a pot-luck supper so bring a dish to share and come hear about the Christmas Bird Count. Meetings are held in the basement hall of the Penticton United Church on Main Street. The bird Count pot-luck and reporting starts at 4:30pm. All are welcome.