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BC Conservation Fund

BC Parks Foundation and Province of BC pledge $300 million to tackle biodiversity loss in collaboration with First Nations

The BC Parks Foundation and the Province of BC jointly announced funding to improve biodiversity and climate security in BC in collaboration with First Nations.

The Province of BC committed $150 million, and the BC Parks Foundation commits to secure an additional $150 million through its crowdsourcing and partnership model.

The commitment is part of a unique 'made in BC' public-private partnership approach where the Foundation guarantees the matching funds to the Province, donors can contribute to projects knowing their dollars will be matched by Provincial funding, and First Nations and other partners can propose projects knowing long term stable funding is available.

Funds will be managed within the Foundation and overseen independently from government by a Strategic Oversight Committee made up of experts, half of whom will be First Nations.

The interim committee will design the Fund, which will be launched in the spring of 2024. 

Interim Committee Members, BC Conservation Fund

Cynthia Callison (Chair) is a founding partner of Callison & Hanna Law Firm, where she has been a leading negotiator in agreements between Indigenous peoples, governments, and resource developers. Cynthia is a graduate of the Sauder School of Business and the Allard School of Law at UBC and she received a Masters in Constitutional Law from Osgoode Hall Law School. She is an exceptional public speaker and an invited presenter at dialogues on Indigenous peoples. She currently serves on a number of boards which provide leadership for revitalizing Indigenous well-being. Cynthia is a member of the Tahltan Nation whose territory is the Stikine River Watershed in northwestern BC.

Dr. Danielle Ignace is an Assistant Professor of Indigenous Natural Science in the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia. She is a member of the Coeur d’Alene tribe and an ecophysiologist with a passion for science communication. She studies how global change (climate change, landscape disturbance, and non-native species invasions) impacts ecosystem function and Indigenous communities. Fostering distinctive collaborations with faculty and students to understand and communicate pressing global change problems is the hallmark of her research, teaching, YouTube channel, and ArtSci projects. Dr. Ignace is also a Research Associate at Harvard Forest and serves as Associate Editor for the journal, Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene. Always seeking new ways to be an advocate for underrepresented groups in STEM, she joined the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee for the American Society of Plant Biology. As an Indigenous woman in STEM, Dr. Ignace is deeply committed to developing Indigenous curriculum and her unique perspective bridges Indigenous communities, people of color, and scientists.

Garry Merkel is a Registered Professional Forester who served as the Co-Chair of the Old Growth Review Panel appointed by the Government of British Columbia. This panel conducted an extensive outreach process that received input from thousands of people across British Columbia and helped inform their final report, “A NEW FUTURE FOR OLD FORESTS, A Strategic Review of How British Columbia Manages its Old Forests Within its Ancient Ecosystems” (OGSR). Garry was asked to return as a member of a 5-person Old Growth Technical Advisory Panel responsible for conducting a technical analysis to identify deferral areas that met the criteria established in the OGSR Recommendation 6. Garry is now an independent mentor, coach, facilitator and advisor who supports the government, forest sector and ultimately the land sector of the province through this transition. Garry also has extensive foundation and program design and delivery experience as an inaugural board member of Forest Renewal BC, the Columbia Basin Trust and the Tahltan Heritage Trust. Garry is a member of the Tahltan Nation whose territory is the Stikine River Watershed in northwestern BC.

Greg Malpass grew up in Nelson BC and went to Simon Fraser University. He founded Traction on Demand, a Burnaby-based cloud technology consultancy and software development firm. For several years Traction was ranked as one of the continent’s fastest growing technology companies, moving from 20 to 100 to 800 to over 2000 employees. Greg developed an innovative way of structuring the organization to handle growth, serve clients, and attract/retain productive employees. His commitment to workplace culture and community landed Traction on Demand on Canada’s Top 10 Best Places to Work list for multiple years. Additionally, Traction was regularly listed in Deloitte’s Best Managed Companies in Canada, including as a finalist for top spot. Individually, Greg has been recognized for both his innovative leadership and expertise in cloud computing and data. Business in Vancouver named him one of the Top Forty Under 40, and awarded him with CEO of the Year for several years. Greg and his wife Michelle set up Traction for Good to support charitable organizations during Traction on Demand’s busy growth years. Greg also opened an office in Nelson to support rural community economies.

Dr. Jody Holmes has a doctorate degree in biology and has worked for more than 20 years to achieve healthy human and ecological systems in the Great Bear Rainforest. In conjunction with First Nations, she was one of the primary architects of the historic Great Bear Rainforest Agreements, protecting the largest expanses of old growth temperate rainforest in the world. Jody was the conservation sector representative at both the Central and North Coast Land and Resource Management Plans, the Coast Information Team and the EBM Working Group, the Land and Resource Forum Technical Liaison Committee and the Adaptive Management Steering Committee. Currently, Jody is the Director for the Rainforest Solutions Project (RSP), a coalition which won the Buckminster Fuller Challenge in 2016.

Kory Wilson is Executive Director of Indigenous Initiatives and Partnerships at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. She is Chair of the BC First Nations Justice Council and Co-Chair of the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics Indigenous Affinity Group. Kory has over 20 years of experience in post-secondary education, community development, and in the legal profession. With a deep commitment to education, justice and good governance, she knows innovative and creative solutions are a must to move Reconciliation into ReconciliACTION. She is a strong believer that education and access to knowledge are key to moving everyone forward, and that when people know better, they do better. Kory is Musgamagw Tsawataineuk and Laich-Kwil-Tach. Both nations are part of the Kwakwaka’wakw Nation. She is a member of the We Wai Kai Nation.

Roy Millen is a lawyer with particular experience in Indigenous rights and title, commercial litigation, and international trade. Roy has been involved in a number of negotiations involving natural resource industries, governments, and First Nations, and is familiar with the complex and continually evolving legal framework surrounding those negotiations. Roy is recognized as a leading lawyer in a variety of industry publications.

Dr. Tara Atleo, hahuuła, is an environmental economics researcher and Indigenous sustainable development professional from the Ahousaht First Nation. Her name hahuuła translates to “one who walks/embodies the territories” and was given to her by her family as an acknowledgment of her work for and within the Ahousaht territories. She was CEO of Ahous Business Corporation/the Maaqutusiis Hahoolthee Stewardship Society and has worked in land use planning, economic development, community development and youth services for her own and other Nations. She has taken financial management courses through the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada, is Financial Controller at Arrowsmith Equipment and has studied Carbon Accounting and Management. She has an undergraduate degree in Business Administration, a Masters of Science in Environmental Economics from the University of London and a Doctoral degree in Sustainability Management from the University of Waterloo.

Access the Press Release, Donate to the Fund, or read the Frequently Asked Questions below.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why does BC need a Fund to address biodiversity loss and climate change?
  2. Who will the Foundation work with to match the provincial government's contribution?
  3. Is there a timeline to secure the matching funding?
  4. How will the Strategic Oversight Committee be chosen?
  5. Has anyone specific joined the Strategic Oversight Committee yet?
  6. Does the fund have specific goals to improve biodiversity loss and reverse climate change?
  7. How much land is already protected in BC?
  8. Will this funding support Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas?
  9. Will these new protected areas still be available for British Columbians to enjoy?
  10. What is the "conservation financing mechanism"?
  11. Where can British Columbians donate to the Fund?

1. Why does BC need a Fund to address biodiversity loss and climate change?

Biodiversity is often called the engine of our planet. It is the variety of animals, plants, fungi, and microorganisms, as well as their gene pools and their ecosystems, that make up life on earth. Biodiversity supports life both in local areas and over the entire Earth.

If you lose biodiversity where you live, you not only lose the species you love and their invaluable genetic diversity, but you also endanger your own health. Without biological diversity, you cannot breathe, drink, eat or survive.

Wildfires, flooding, and pest or disease outbreaks are examples of catastrophes that can result when our relationship to nature is out of balance.

Biodiversity loss also affects our jobs and economy. The World Economic Forum identifies biodiversity loss and climate change as urgent global threats.

Many scientists believe the Earth is now experiencing more loss of biodiversity than at any time since the age of the dinosaurs. A recent index of animal life on Earth showed that, on average, the populations of almost 4,400 monitored mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish declined by 69% percent between 1970 and 2022.

B.C. has more biodiversity than anywhere in North America, with more than 50,000 species from the Pacific Ocean to the height of the Rocky Mountains. But it also has the highest number of species at risk. Only about 7.6% of B.C.’s native species have been assessed for their conservation status. Of those that have been assessed, 49% were of provincial or global conservation concern as of 2006 (the last time a study was conducted). If we don’t protect more of British Columbia, it is likely that many species will not survive this century.

Fortunately, it is not too late to act. The good news is that by creating more protected areas, restoring nature, and increasing awareness and education, we can prevent extinctions, mitigate climate change, and have healthier landscapes and people with a strong economy. We can make a difference if we act now. That’s why this Fund is so important.

2. Who will the BCPF work with to match the provincial government’s contribution?

The Foundation will make it possible for all British Columbians, other Canadians, and people from around the world to contribute to projects supported by the Fund. Individuals, businesses, family foundations, philanthropists, and others interested in making a difference can either add to the Fund as a whole or choose and contribute to individual projects that they want to support.

3. Is there a timeline to secure the matching funding?

Matching occurs every time money leaves the Fund for a project, or every time money enters the Fund. There is no deadline on the Fund and the intention is for it to be sustained, reliable, long-term funding through investment and other measures.

4. How will the Strategic Oversight Committee be chosen?

An open call for members will be issued and members will be chosen and appointed by the BCPF Board based on their individual qualifications and contributions to the roles needed on the Committee. A minimum of half of the committee members, including the Chair or Co-Chair, will be individuals from First Nations whose territories are in British Columbia. In addition to the members appointed to the Committee, the Committee will include an ex-officio representative of the provincial government.

5. Has anyone specific joined the Strategic Oversight Committee yet?

The Committee members will be chosen over the next six months. An interim committee will be appointed to gather input and design the Fund during that time. Cynthia Callison, Vice Chair of the Foundation, will serve as chair of the interim committee.

The longer-term committee, which will be announced with the launch of the Fund in six months, will be responsible for implementing the Fund.

6. Does the fund have specific goals to improve biodiversity loss and reverse climate change?

The Fund will support the protection of biological and ecological diversity in B.C. and advancement of the goal of protecting 30% of BC by 2030 (30x30) in a manner that considers climate change, is consistent with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, and promotes First Nations governance or co-governance, including First Nation-led conservation.

The 30x30 goal will be measured by additions to the protected areas database through protected area designations or designations that are Other Effective Conservation Measures (OECMs).

Once the Committee is established, it will be guided by a strategic plan including a vision, goals and targets to protect biodiverse areas throughout B.C. in collaboration with First Nations.

7. How much land is already protected in B.C.?

Approximately 15.6% of British Columbia’s landbase is currently protected, including approximately 14.7 million hectares of B.C.’s provincial and federal parks and protected areas. There are approximately 3.8 million hectares considered to be Other Effective Conservation Measures, bringing the total to 18.5 million hectares or 19.6% of British Columbia.

8. Will this funding support Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas?

Area-based conservation initiatives supported by the Fund will be led by or have the free, prior and informed consent of First Nations title and rights holders or delegated First Nation Organizations and provide opportunities to advance co-management of those conserved and protected areas. They will align with a government to government agreement related to land use to guide the investment.

9. Will these new protected areas still be available for British Columbians to enjoy?

Specific details, such as the use of and access to protected areas by British Columbians, will be unique to each conservation area and will be determined through planning processes that lead to designations and management plans.

10. What is the “conservation financing mechanism”?

A “Conservation Financing Mechanism” is a structure that leads the pursuit of conservation financing, including holding, investing, administering, leveraging, and disbursing funding to support conservation initiatives in B.C. The new Fund is the “conservation finance mechanism. The BC Parks Foundation is responsible for overseeing and administering the Fund.

  • Conservation financing does not result in changes to the land status but brings in the financing necessary to allow for conservation, restoration, and planning activities to be undertaken and implemented.
  • Conservation financing strengthens partnerships to identify and designate areas to be protected for nature conservation purposes.
  • Conservation financing is a tool that will help enable conservation measures with First Nations and is also consistent with the Province’s commitment to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

11. Where can British Columbians donate to the Fund?

British Columbians can contribute to the Fund through the BC Parks Foundation. Donations can be made online on our website by selecting the BC Conservation Fund from the drop-down menu. You can also call Casey Walker at 604-343-3975 ext. 121 to find out more ways to donate.

Media Contact

Randene Neill

Wildlife Forever

Furthering the ecological integrity and resilience of parks 

British Columbia contains more biodiversity than anywhere else in North America and is home to over 75 per cent of Canada’s mammals. With the increasing pressures of climate change, park usership and other stress factors, we are seeing impacts on wildlife and other values that parks were established to protect. As a result, there is a need to develop a deeper understanding of our parks and how we can protect and enhance them into the future.

Our Wildlife Forever program uses various forms of data collection including remote wildlife cameras, eDNA and community science initiatives to grow our understanding of the state of B.C.'s parks. These combined tactics and technological advances are leading to unprecedented levels of observations which help to inform management decisions and engage a critical network of park stewards throughout the province. 

By combining insights from new big data analytics technology, we can create more holistic views of wildlife and their habitats, along with lasting conservation outcomes.


  • Nearly 3 million observations in B.C. recorded by community scientists on iNaturalist and other nature-observation apps
  • More than 30,000 individual community scientists actively uploading observations 
  • Knowledge of the threats facing key species - mainly climate change - is being continuously updated and is contributing to the development of mitigation measures, recovery plans and management strategies.

Thank you to our Wildlife Forever program partners:


Healthy By Nature

Increasing access to the health benefits of nature 

Experience the Healing Power of Nature 

A growing body of scientific evidence confirms that when you interact with nature, you can become healthier and more productive. 

We want to make sure all British Columbians have the opportunity to experience parks and their healing power. 

Doctors recommend spending a minimum of 2 hours a week outside. Through our Healthy By Nature initiative, you can access tips and information about the healing power of nature.  

Join the 25x25 expedition to find out how you can be healthy by nature: www.25x25.ca

Get a Nature Prescription

Through Park Prescriptions, we are working with healthcare professionals to prescribe time in nature to those who need it most.  Featuring practical resources like quick tips and patient handouts, its goal is to make prescribing time in nature straightforward and effective. Each prescriber who registers with PaRx will receive a nature prescription file customized with a unique provider code, and instructions for how to prescribe and log nature prescriptions. If you are a health care professional or would like more information about Park Prescriptions:  www.parkprescriptions.ca

Thank you to our Healthy By Nature program partners:

Live 5-2-1-0      Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment      



Discover Parks

Inspiring British Columbians and guests to discover, experience and care for nature 

BC’s world-class parks are not only the backbone of our tourism economy, but also serve as a haven for family time, recreation, education, inspiration, culture and personal fulfillment. In 2018/2019, BC’s parks had over 26 million visits – an increase of nearly five million over five years. While it’s great that more people are getting outside, some of our natural areas are under pressure due to increasing visitation.

Discover Parks brings together nature, art, technology and culture to connect people to nature.

  • Discover Park Ambassadors: Engage with passionate Ambassadors who guide and inspire park visitors, promoting nature appreciation, outdoor safety, and responsible park use.
  • Nature Houses: Visit essential hubs for visitor information, educational programming, and community engagement, contributing significantly to fostering a sense of shared responsibility for park protection and appreciation.
  • Discover Trails: Immerse yourself in a self guided interactive park experiences that weaves through BC's parks, telling stories, fostering cultural connections, and nurturing stewards for the future.
  • discoverparks.ca: Dive into our online hub, your go-to resource for park experiences, and community engagement. Discover diverse content and resources, all in one convenient space.

Join us in our mission to create a legacy of responsible park stewardship, showcasing British Columbia's unique stories to our children and the world. Together, let's embrace the harmony between nature, technology, and culture, and build a future where our parks thrive for generations to come.

Protecting Beautiful Places

Expanding and enhancing parks and indigenous protected areas 

BC’s parks and indigenous protected areas are more than just beautiful places that we enjoy, that drive our economy, and that are at the core of who we are as British Columbians. They also provide essential life support functions for us and other species.

Because of increasing pressures like climate change and park visitation, it is more important than ever to protect and restore more of BC, including creating corridors so wildlife can survive threats such as fire, disease, or habitat loss. 

Click here to support the expansion of BC’s parks and indigenous protected areas, beyond government responsibilities.

Results so far - Over 6,200 hectares of land protected!

  • 800 hectares of land was protected in Princess Louisa Inlet in 2019.  It is one of the first crowdfunded parks in the world. 
  • A new park was created on Cowichan Lake in 2019, preserving 2 hectares of land and an additional 46 acres along Cowichan River in 2020.
  • 2020 saw almost 10 acres secured at Gowland Todd.
  • In 2020, we protected another 260 hectares of land in Princess Louisa Inlet, including the iconic One Eye Mountain.
  • We successfully helped raise funds for the Mt. Erskine Trail connector in 2020, securing an acre of land to ensure trail continuity.
  • We also protected West Ballenas Island in 2020, over 40 hectares. It is one of the most biodiverse spots in the Salish Sea with rare and endangered species.
  • A new 3,500-hectare conservancy was created in 2021 to protect the environment and wildlife within Tahltan territory, in an area of northwestern B.C. historically known as the Ice Mountain Lands, adjacent to Mount Edziza Provincial Park.
  • In 2021, the legacy of the Edwards family was preserved with the purchase of 62 hectares at Lonesome Lake, where the trumpeter swans were brought back from near extinction.
  • Another gem of the Salish Sea was secured in 2021 with the acquisition of the 10 hectare Saturnina Island.
  • Largely supported by the community of Lasquetians, 256 acres at Young Point on the southwest end of the island were secured.
  • Supported by the historic gift from Age of Union, we protected over 296 hectares in the Upper Pitt River area, creating vital wildlife corridors between the 3 major provincial parks bounding the land.
  • Through a cohesive partnership with the Nanaimo Regional District, Save Estuary Land Society, Friends of French Creek Conservation Society and Qualicum and Snaw-Naw-As First Nations, we secured over 20 acres at French Creek Estuary to create Vancouver Island's first eagle sanctuary.
  • In 2022, we added nearly 205 acres in Spences Bridge, Kamloops to the list of protected areas.
  • Assisted the province in securing over 33 hectares near Wells Gray.
  • With the support of the Saulteau First Nations, just over 615 acres were protected at Falling Creek, near Chetwynd, BC that was at risk due to industrial zoning.
  • Contributed to protecting 41-acres of sagebrush-dotted grasslands at the Bourguiba Springs property in the South Okanagan.
  • Closed off 2022 by securing 85 acres of land in Agassiz with riverfront access, which will be re-wilded.
  • Contributed to the initiative by Ducks Unlimited Canada to conserve nearly 122 acres near Burges James Gadsden Park.
  • Partnered with the Comox Valley Land Trust to protect the home of the lamprey - 715 acres at Morrison Headwaters.
  • Secured over 329 acres in Christian Valley, in BC's interior.
  • Successfully fundraised to protect 151.7 acres at Okanagan Mountain Lake.
  • Protected 561 acres in Cowichan Road on Vancouver Island.

American Donor?

Supported the Province in protecting over 16 acres at Gladstone Park. Negotiated the relinquishment of mineral tenure rights to protect 29,000 hectares of land near Garibaldi. Kickstarted 2023 by supporting the province in the acquisition of 7 acres at Bowron Lakes. Worked with the Province to secure 160 acres at Naikoon Park.

Parks for Everyone

Everyone Outside, No Obstacles

Grounded in our belief that time in nature promotes positive mental and physical health and well-being, we want to ensure that everyone has access to our great outdoors. This means addressing inequalities and barriers that prevent British Columbians from getting outside, obstacles such as transportation, logistics, equipment, park accessibility and more.

Outside and Unplugged

Through our Outside and Unplugged initiative, you can give vulnerable Canadians the opportunity to experience BC’s parks and learn about health and nature. We work with outreach organizations, such as Mosaic to provide opportunities to new Canadians and refugees, and Foundry to provide opportunities to youth ages 12-24.

We also work with a number of organizations to get kids outside. Children today spend an average of 7-8 hours per day in front of screens. All this screen time has been linked to increasing rates of obesity, ADHD, anxiety, spinal malformations, and strained social relations. The Canadian Chief Public Health Officer recently said that active play outdoors is essential for healthy child development.

Please consider giving a child, youth, or vulnerable Canadian the opportunity to experience nature by donating here.

Thank you to our Program Partners:


Park Improvement Initiatives

Another key aspect of removing barriers to access is to ensure that our parks and the facilities at the parks are accessible and well maintained. Donors like you have shown great committment to such projects.

What You've Accomplished So Far:

  • Thousands of park supporters from across British Columbia and globally showed their love and appreciation for B.C.'s parks by giving to our Foundation.
  • New facilities were created in Gwillim, Drumbeg, and Ancient Forest/Chun T’oh Whudujut Provincial Parks.
  • Accessibility improvements were completed at Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park to make it easier for seniors and disabled visitors to enjoy the facilities.
  • The volunteer-led, Mitlenatch Island Stewardship Team have been supported in continuing their important work protecting the bird refuge that is Mitlenatch Island.
  • Surveys are being undertaken and restoration work in Desolation Sound.
  • Work is underway to replace the dock, refurbish and add new tent pads and upgrade ranger facilities at Top of the World Provincial Park.
  • Accessibility improvements were completed at Kokanee Creek Provincial Park.