Name of organisation: Kootenay-Columbia Discovery Centre Society (“KCDCS”)
Funding support: Creston Valley Wildlife Management Authority (“CVWMA”), Columbia Basin Trust, Province of B.C. and other public agencies
Number of staff: 1 indeterminate plus 4 seasonal
Number of visitors per year: 6,000 +
Overall aims of the centre 1. Provide ongoing environmental education and awareness programs, exhibits and activities and, 2. Research, organize, fund and otherwise develop and operate a new wetland education facility.
Description of the centre The current, temporary centre is approx.. 700 square feet. It is situated on the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area, a 7,000 ha. Ramsar site, situated in central British Columbia Canada (see https://www.crestonwildlife.ca/). It is home to more than 400 wildlife species including over 300 species of birds, the endangered northern leopard frog, brown bats, moose and grizzly bears. It has many aquatic plant species and is habitat for a variety of ducks, songbirds and other native and migratory birds.
KCDCS provides school programs that are matched to school curricula, stewardship programs for high school and community groups aimed at hands on habitat restoration, jr. naturalist science camps for ages 6-16, guided excursions including canoe and walking tours, special events and programs.
Main CEPA work areas
As noted, KCDCS provides environmental education and awareness programs to children and adults and hosts and participates in community events, e.g. the Creston Valley Bird Festival.
Top three successes
All of the student education programs have been successful since inception in the mid-
1970’s. They work well due to the professional leadership and commitment of the (previous and current) Board and staff. The present Sr. Manager of Education and Operations brings 12 years of experience in designing and implementing such programs and in establishing and maintaining valuable partnerships with like-minded organizations and governments. The other major success to date is the establishment of a working partnership with the CVWMA that facilitates the continuation of programming on the wetlands and the planning of future events and developments. Thirdly, the recruitment of professional and committed Board members has greatly enhanced the prospect of KCDCS’ achieving its goals and objectives.
Top three challenges
Funding: Being a non-profit, KCDCS has to apply and is in competition for public grants for operational costs on a yearly basis. This process is inadequate for the larger goal of developing a new wetland education centre. The challenge is to develop an effective marketing scheme to solicit sizeable donations from both the public and the private sector.
Capacity building: The development of a new facility requires Board engagement in a multi-facetted design-build process. The Board has 5 year plan in place and has already taken steps to elicit the best possible advice in relation to the project. KCDCS hopes its WLI membership will facilitate networking with other wetland education centres to increase its capacity to move forward in an environmentally and fiscally sound manner.
Public Relations: KCDCS has received a broad range of support from the public generally but still encounters resistance from certain sectors in the region who perceive the new development as unnecessary, intrusive and in competition for economic resources. KCDCS needs to develop a public relations campaign that will better explain the value of the centre to the community/region and alleviate notions of competitiveness.
Creating signage; site information; Producing written materials; Using audio-visual tools; Developing nature trails
Running a visitor centre; Building / maintaining structures
Working with disabled people; Engaging young people; Engaging the local community;
Working with volunteers
Education and communication
Early years education; Delivering adult education; Working with primary schools; Working with secondary schools; Developing resources / materials
Auditing / assessing effectiveness; PR and marketing; Running effective administration; Health and safety; Fund-raising; Project planning.
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