By Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
Since February, organizations from around the world have been celebrating the historic agreements reached to protect the Great Bear Rainforest, a global ecological treasure covering 6.4 million hectares of B.C.’s north and central coast.
The most recent accolades came earlier this week at a recognition ceremony at Buckingham Palace celebrating the endorsement of the Great Bear Rainforest under the prestigious Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy Initiative. Premier Christy Clark was able to represent the Province at this event.
The Great Bear Rainforest was the largest project among 20 Commonwealth countries celebrated at the event. The projects ranged in size from the 2.4-hectare site in Antigua and Barbuda to the 6.4-million-hectare Great Bear Rainforest, which is the size of Ireland!
The Great Bear Rainforest is a living classroom with lessons about the importance of balancing conservation needs, First Nations rights and economic activity that operates within nature’s limits. It’s a world class model that has to be broken down and understood so it can be applied elsewhere in the world.
To achieve these goals, we’re establishing the $1-million Great Bear Rainforest Education and Awareness Trust. The trust will be used to support activities such as: developing teacher and student resources focused on the Great Bear Rainforest and aligned with B.C.’s new curriculum, resource management practices and ongoing research, raising public awareness of the people who have lived on this part of B.C.’s Central and North Coast for more than 12,000 years and investments in broader resource management based education, awareness and understanding.
The Great Bear Rainforest is British Columbia’s gift to our children – and to the world. Through this fund, we hope to share the story of this gift.
Steve Thomson is the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations