The Natasha Boyd Wetland Conservation Area
The Natasha Boyd Wetland Conservation Area is located just adjacent to Baker Creek, approximately 25km east of McBride. It comprises 65 hectares (160 acres) of low lying wetlands and upland forests. The woodland area, which is made up of paper birch, trembling aspen, white and black spruce, lodgepole pine and western redcedar, surrounds clusters of inter-connected wetlands. The wetlands include bogs (areas with deep, nutrient poor, acidic soils), fens (more nutrient rich areas with deep peat soils vegetated by sedges and grasses), and shallow open waters. These provide habitat for a rich array of plants and animals.
This area was carefully selected for conservation because of the inherent value and increasing rarity of wetland habitats throughout British Columbia. Wetlands cover only 6% of the land base in British Columbia, but provide essential water, food, protective cover, and breeding habitat for a diversity of wildlife species. The Natasha Boyd Wetland Conservation Area, in particular, provides habitat for moose and mule deer, grizzly and black bears, wolves, coyotes, beavers and snowshoe hares. Many songbirds and waterfowl also inhabit the area. These include common yellowthroats, orange-crowned warblers, white-crowned sparrows, american redstarts, sandhill cranes, great blue herons, green-winged teals, ring-necked ducks and buffleheads.
Wetlands also play a critical role in the natural water regime. They reduce flooding, prevent erosion, store carbon, and filter and recharge ground water aquifers. Despite the importance of wetlands, they are being lost in British Columbia. Three-quarters of Bc's natural wetlands have been drained, in-filled, or modified for urban, industrial and agricultural development. May others are subject to runoff from rural and urban areas. Protecting this property ensures that this wetland remains a vibrant and functioning part of the Robson Valley forever.
The Wetland Conservation Area was established to commemorate the life of local artist and Naturalist, Natasha Boyd. The land aquisition was made possible by the generous donation of her husband Carl Boyd in the memorial to his beloved wife. The Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program provided matching funds. The property's title is now now held in trust by The Land Conservancy of British Columbia and will be managed by a committee of local residents, The Land Conservancy, and the Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program who will ensure that the present values of this property are maintained into the future.
On March 17, 2004 The Fraser Headwaters Alliance, together with The Land Conservancy celebrated the establishment of the Natasha Boyd Wetland Conservation Area with a dedication and unveiling ceremony. Among the 55 people in attendance for the Dunster-style potluck and ceremony were Carl and Natasha's two children - Charlene Brooks and Dan Boyd (shown below).
The ceremony involved speeches by Shawn Black (The Land Conservancy), Glen Watts (Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program) and Nancy Taylor (The Fraser Headwaters Alliance). Each gave a brief description of the work of their organization in the Robson Valley. Carl also took the stage to give the rapt audience a quick view, through word and photograph, of what a remarkable person Natasha really was. The event was culmunated by Charlene and Dan unveiling a 6'X4' sign that will be placed at the Baker Creek rest area once the ground thaws. The whole event was coordinated by Barry Booth who made a phenomenal last-minute M.C.!
Photo credits: Moose (top inset)) by Roy Rea, Ladyslipper (top), painting by Natasha Boyd, Natasha Boyd (middle) anonymous, Charlene Brooks and Dan Boyd unveiling the sign (bottom), by Andru McCracken, Robson Valley Times.
Click on the thumbnails below to see more pictures of the ceremony (photographs courtesy of Andru McCracken, Robson Valley Times)