Update to the Cortes Community
Many of you will remember the launch of the Forest Trust for the Children of Cortes Island last September when we had a community celebration at Manson’s Landing Community Hall. We celebrated the work that had taken place to create the Board and we discussed the work to raise funds for the purchase of the Carrington Lagoon properties currently held by Island Timberlands. Since that meeting much work has taken place behind the scenes, and the Board feels it is time to update the Community.
The ‘Forest Trust for the Children of Cortes Island Society’ was formed to purchase approximately 600 acres of ecologically significant forestlands on Cortes Island and place them in trust to the children of Cortes, in perpetuity. These forest lands are affectionately known on Cortes as, the ‘Children’s Forest.’
The Board for the Children’s Forest Trust consists of the following volunteers: Chris Dragseth, Chair; Christine Robinson, Secretary; Sabina Leader-Mense, Treasurer; Adam McKenty; and Eva Boucek. Donna Bracewell and Ann Mortifee are acting in the role of advisory directors. Children’s Forest Trust received Society status on November 15, 2012. This was a significant achievement.
As a Society, the Children’s Forest Trust will benefit the current and future generations of children on Cortes Island and secondarily the general public through the following activities:
• to preserve and protect natural forest lands on Cortes Island, British Columbia with high ecological significance and representing intact eco-systems, and to ensure the long term ecological integrity of such lands ;
• to contribute to and enhance the education, health and welfare of the current and future generations of children on Cortes Island, as well as the general public, by ensuring that they have access to such natural forest lands for purposes of education and recreation;
• to develop and deliver to the children of Cortes Island and the general public, nature-based educational programs related to such preserved forest lands;
• to conduct objective, academic and scientific research regarding the long term ecological integrity of such preserved forest lands; and
• to engage in such charitable activities or endeavors, including the acquisition and stewardship of forest lands on Cortes Island, British Columbia and the registration on title of conservation covenants, as may in the opinion of the Society board of directors facilitate the above objectives.
As you can appreciate, to meet these objectives the Board has its work cut out in the coming weeks, months and years.
To support the Board’s goals of purchasing the lands for the Society, as well as the academic and educational work, we will need funding. A major fund raising campaign was discussed at our September meeting. We were ambitious and had hoped that the campaign would be in place within weeks. Unfortunately, this was not to be the case, as the intricacies of designing and implementing such a large initiative became abundantly clear to the Board. As a result, we’ve taken a step back and decided to take a more strategic approach leading up to the official launch of our fund raising campaign. We apologize for this delay and appreciate your patience.
Part of the repositioning of our efforts involves obtaining charitable status from the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA). This is a complex and lengthy task. The Board is targeting a June 1 submission to CRA. After submission it is a minimum of 6 months to obtain charitable status. As such, we anticipate the launch of the major fund raising campaign sometime later this summer. In the interim, through the generosity of many artists, an art auction took place throughout the winter. The funds from the auction will result in the publication of the book, Forest Alphabet: Artistic Visions of a Forest in Trust to the Children, a compilation of art work by the children of Cortes Island.
All of this work is predicated on the successful negotiations to purchase designated Carrington Lagoon properties from Island Timberlands, the current landowner. Our Board has been in touch with Island Timberlands to start the relationship building and eventual discussions leading to successful negotiations. The Board is anticipating a scheduled meeting with Island Timberlands sometime the coming weeks. Obviously these discussions will be vitally important to the Board’s work.
In the meantime, a number of the youth on Cortes are forming a youth board and will be organizing several projects to spread the word on behalf of the Children’s Forest and towards fundraising. Their first project will be to help organize a contest for an official logo, so please stay tuned for upcoming information on this creative project.
The Board remains committed to our work and our communities that we serve. As such, we promise to provide you timely updates. In the interim, to learn more about the Children’s Forest, please visit our website often: http://www.corteschildrensforesttrust.org
If you wish to contact the Board directly with suggestions and/or comments, you can reach us at the following e-mail address:
On behalf of the Forest Trust for the Children of Cortes Island Society,
Chris Dragseth, Chair
Painting by Karen Martin Sampson - A Child In Grandmothers Grove