Thanks to the efforts of the Saanich bird team, the municipality has become the ninth community in the country to be named a certified bird-friendly city by Nature Canada.
Working in collaboration with Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary and others, the District of Saanich has helped make the community a safe haven for wild birds, according to the environmental group.
Phaedra Otwey, community education assistant at the nature sanctuary and lead for the Saanich bird team, called the news “beyond exciting.” The process of becoming certified has highlighted actions taken by the district toward the conservation and protection of birds, wildlife, and our incredible ecosystems, she said in a release.
“It also demonstrated just how many dedicated people and organizations in our community are working hard to continue making Saanich as beneficial and safe to wildlife as it is to us. This has been a truly inspiring initiative to be a part of and I am so thrilled that it will connect so many more people to the wonderful world of birds,” Otwey said.
Bird-friendly policies put in place in the municipality include protecting and restoring natural habitat to support biodiversity; committing to climate change mitigation and adaptation, including nature-based solutions; educating the public to raise awareness of threats to birds and providing information on how to mitigate such threats, and providing opportunities for residents to get involved in community science projects for bird conservation.
The timing of the May 11 announcement of Saanich’s naming as a bird-friendly city coincided with World Migratory Bird Week, noted Eva Riccius, the district’s senior manager of parks and a member of the Saanich bird team.
“This initiative fits directly with our natural intelligence program, which encourages every resident to have a positive connection with nature locally,” she said. “We’re excited about raising awareness of birds in Saanich and sharing some actions that residents can take to increase our bird friendliness.”
In congratulating the team for its efforts, Mayor Fred Haynes called the certification well-deserved.
“We all look forward to how we can expand this work to include additional conservation actions as well as include more of our community in the coming years.”
For more information on Nature Canada’s connection with birds, visit naturecanada.ca and click on the Discover Nature heading.
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