“Past Stewards of the Land” Mary Lake Jan 23 2011

It was an honour to be invited to an historic ceremony at Mary Lake, Sunday January 23rd, honouring “Past Stewards of the Land”.

It was the first time that hereditary chiefs from the five local tribes came together for an event that was not political.

Respected Tsartlip elder Tom Sampson spoke. The Yellow Wolf Drummers and Singers offered 3 songs: a prayer, a song to honour the past stewards of the land, and a song to honour elders and ancestors.

The gathering, recognizing Nancy McMinn (instrumental in saving the Gowland Tod lands), Peter and Violet Brotherston (original owners of Mary Lake) and ancestors of the Saanich Coast Salish Peoples for their roles as protectors of the natural world, was hosted by the Mary Lake Conservancy and the Greater Victoria Greenbelt Society.

Currently Mary Lake is the subject of a campaign to raise an initial $1M before January 31, 2011 in order to secure bridge financing, and eventually $4M for the purchase of this unique property in the Highlands of Victoria BC.

Mary Lake sits in the midst of a treasured 107-acre parcel of carefully conserved and endangered Dry Coastal Douglas Fir ecosystem. Only a very small percentage of the land in the Dry Coastal Douglas Fir Zone is permanently protected.

Its acquisition would ensure a green corridor joining Thetis Lake and Mount Work parks.

Individuals are encouraged to purchase their $10 square metre of Mary Lake to preserve the property in perpetuity. Social media has had a big role in the outreach of campaigners.There is the possibility to text donations using “MARY” and sending to 45678. A video contest “The Power of Many” asks people to create a video encouraging others in their lives to save a square metre of Mary Lake. Prizes up to $10,000 will be awarded; the contest closes January 31st.

Local documentary filmmakers Mandy Leith and Nicole Sorochan are spearheading a live web-a-thon on Thursday January 27th from 4-8pm at Cabin 12, 607 Pandora Avenue.  There will be a “tweet bar” and live feed.

To learn more about how you can become involved in this campaign and the importance to the regional bio-sphere of the Mary Lake property, please visit the Save Mary Lake website.

About @lacouvee

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