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BRITISH COLUMBIA NEEDS ENDANGERED SPECIES LEGISLATION

For the last six years, Isabelle has been helping the Wilderness Committee, Canada’s largest membership-based environmental organization with a campaign to obtain a stand-alone provincial legislation to protect species at risk in British Columbia.

In Canada, British Columbia is one of only two provinces (the other being Alberta) that does not have an endangered species law. Yet the province is home to more wild plant and animal species than any other province in Canada and is also one of the last holdouts for many large mammals that once roamed much of North America. Alarmingly, 1,900 species are on the provincial species at risk list, including the northern spotted owl, the grizzly bear, the Vancouver Island marmot, the western painted turtle, the western rattlesnake and the phantom orchid. Species are in trouble primarily because of habitat loss and degradation. For example, due to the loss of old-growth forest habitat, the northern spotted owl is now close to extirpation in Canada with only an estimated six owls left in the wild within their southwest BC range.

Isabelle educates and mobilizes the people in British Columbia and beyond through outreach booths, media stories, social media, presentations, story-telling, photography, and films. In partnership with a videographer, she has been creating video profiles of various species at risk to educate the public about local endangered wildlife and why they should care. We tell stories about these species, and we show how the loss of one species affects the entire ecosystem. The films feature the specific habitats these species rely on to survive, such as grasslands, old-growth forests, and wetlands, and why it is important to protect these habitats. Photography is a core component of this work as is story-telling. A selection of videos Isabelle has directed with videographers Mike McKinlay and George Faulkner can be viewed in the Films section and on Isabelle’s Vimeo site.

For this project, Isabelle has photographed western skinks, burrowing owls, rattlesnakes, badgers, barn swallows, oregon spotted frogs, mountain caribou, barn owls, and more. Watch for updates in the News section and photographs added to the Photography section. Also keep informed on the Wilderness Committee’s campaign website.

Isabelle has also developed a Facebook page dedicated to BC’s Endangered Species, where the Wilderness Committee’s team shares news, videos, photos on this important issue. One exciting developments on the Facebook page in the last few years has been the online art show of children and youth’s artwork from elementary and secondary schools across the province.

Please stand up to British Columbia’s endangered wildlife and sign a petition to tell our political leaders that the province urgently needs an endangered species law. Sign the petition online and send the link to your friends, family, and colleagues. Without a law in place to protect species at risk and the habitat they rely on to survive, many species in British Columbia will continue to decline and will eventually disappear from the landscape.

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