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A wonderful community project that the Hancock Wildlife Foundation has been supporting.

Their legacy initiative is to create the 1st Bald Eagle Preserve on Vancouver Island to protect 23 acres of vital habitat for eagles and wildlife.  Several groups are working together including The Save Estuary Land Society and Friends of French Creek Conservation Society, Nanaimo and Area Land Trust, Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Regional Research Institute, Vancouver Island University, Arrowsmith Naturalists and Mid-Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement society.  A special thanks to the generous property owner, French Creek House Ltd., who is poised to gift over 12 acres of their land to the Eagle Preserve and who funded the artificial nest and webcam.

I recommend viewing this brief video as it says it all – “IF YOU CARE, YOU CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN!”  The eagles are brought back.

The opening scenes show the foundational sticks being sent up the tree by the Save French Creek Estuary Land Society volunteers.  At the top of the tree is Myles Lamont, our HWF chief climbing biologist, fixing these branches into the intricate web of a bald eagle nest.  This nest is the community effort, supported by our Foundation recommendations of a tree, to again build an eagles nest.  Like in many such nests we build, it was so rewarding to see the eagles take charge and complete this nest for a productive new season.


The rest of the video shows why the community got behind saving this French Creek Estuary – its incredibly rich flora and fauna.  Do you have otters, beavers, an annual migration of thousands of black brant and a myriad of migrant birds in your back yard?

This is an awesome community driven video.  I want to specifically thank Denise Foster for coordinating this complex multi-year project and for rallying all the various organizations in the regions to help conserve this estuary treasure.  Their team is fundraising toward the purchase of the remaining 5 acres of land to complete the 23-acre Eagle Preserve and they could use your help so please contribute.  See

SPECIAL NOTE:  See the Joyce Butler $20,000 matching grant.  Sometimes your past delivers wonderfully warm and fuzzy returns – in this case 70 years later.  Joyce Butler, her husband Tom and his brother Claude Butler were our neighbours in the late 1940’s thru my graduation in 1957.  From age 12 onward I worked in their gravel-cement pit and hardware stores.  Here Tom took my enthusiasm to learn to drive to heart.  By 13 I was driving all the trucks, cement mixers, front end loaders and excavators.  I also got full adult wages as I undertook each afternoon after school the exhilarating fun of excavating a blasting hole into the gravel cliffs, loading it with dynamite to bring down the next days fresh gravel.  At 13 I was a powder monkey!  By 15 I had spent so many hours in their airplane volunteering to help clear new little private airports throughout BC that I took formal lessons, put in the training hours so I got a pilots license on my 16th birthday.

What Joyce and family did not know till now is that in the summer when I was just 15, Claude brought into the truck fleet the newest fanciest huge truck, a General Motors Hydromatic, that carried the biggest cement mixer the fleet had.  All the truck drivers were lined up and Claude chose me to be the driver.  All the drivers took that to be an honor!  They had been watching me drive – and fly – for years so it never occurred to them, or me to tell them, that I was still a year away from getting a drivers license or my pilots license.  Needless to say my years of working for the Butler family were wrapped in wonderful memories, opportunities and adventures.  Not the least was that, in spite of my father having just had a serious accident in 1948 and not able to work as Foreman of the Vancouver Island Dairy and going through bankruptcy (there was no workmans compensation in those days!),  I was able to save enough money that on high school graduation week I purchased a car, an airplane and the best ‘semi-professional’ movie camera.  The balance of my adventures is a better-known-story.  Joyce – I hope you’re not disappointed in this revelation!  And thanks to your family I had the opportunity of a wonderful start in my adult life.  I am often asked why I believe more in community responsibility than individual rights.  Perhaps that is not quite right but I believe rights only flow from personal responsibility.  I am always leary of someone proclaiming a right.  Have they earned it?  This is rooted in growing up where our neighbors, from the day dad and I moved into the little windblown farm house, rented for $50 per month, with no electricity or running water, with mom and my day old brother arriving the next day, saw to it that we never went hungry or wanting.  But this Butler episode, our second closest neighbour, is a brief introduction to that wonderful stage of growing up.  Thanks Joyce.

This video “Vancouver Islands 1st Bald Eagle Preserve at French Creek Estuary” is on Youtube at:  Intro to French Creek Estuary Land

David Hancock