Local Conservation Fund Feature Project: Climate and Water Conservation Action

The Kootenay Conservation Program (KCP) in partnership with the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) provide funding for projects that benefit conservation in the area from Spillimacheen to Canal Flats through the Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund (CVLCF). The purpose of the CVLCF is to provide local financial support for important projects that will contribute to the conservation of our valuable natural areas; one step towards restoring and preserving a healthy environment.

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Building understanding and affecting positive behavioral change about climate change and it’s effects on ecosystems and our society has been a cornerstone of Groundswell Network Society’s mission and actions since the organization was founded in 2000. Water conservation, climate change and preparing our communities of the upper Columbia Valley for its impacts was central to the development of the Community Greenhouse from 2006-09 and the adjacent development of a 12,000 sq. ft. permaculture garden launched in 2013.

Some of Groundswell’s successes include:

  • a feature built wetland received additional plant stock and an interpretive sign was installed adjacent to the wetland
  • the wetland’s central role in storing harvested rainwater and re-distributing it within the permaculture garden was ongoing and featured in several tours and workshops
  • organic, zero carbon food production extended in the Community Greenhouse and was expanded in the outdoor community gardens
  • Community Composting Services successfully engaged commercial and residential clients and the goal of matching or exceeding 2014’s compost volume of 32,000 liters was achieved (48,000 liters processed in 2015).  The initiative grew into a regional composting pilot program in 2016 processing 87 tonnes of organics and is now being reviewed for full implementation throughout the East Kootenay region in 2017.
  • The Fly It Forward program was researched and established and now offers a localized carbon offset program for travelers and corporate clients to invest in Groundswell’s programs with every kilometer they fly. Visit http://groundswellnetwork.ca/fly-it-forward/ to learn more and become a Fly It Forward patron.

In addition to regular programs and events, each year Groundswell continues to receive large numbers of requests for specific and often detailed information regarding the development of similar sustainability infrastructure and programs by other communities, organizations, private companies and individuals. Over the past three years they have been building resources that help them address these: they have a half day professional development workshop, conference presentation materials, organized tour formats and training of other staff to undertake these tours.

In 2012 the Community Greenhouse was a Finalist in the Real Estate Foundation’s Land Awards, which in particular identified the influence they have had on other communities seeking to replicate the Community Greenhouse and its programs. In 2016, Groundswell Network Society was honoured with a Kootenay Game Changers Award in the category of Outdoors and Environment Game Changer.

To date well over one hundred communities from around the world have visited the Groundswell Campus or sought their development advice.