During the 2020 KCP Virtual Fall Gathering, participants were asked to participate in an interactive exercise by submitting up to 8 key words in response to the question “What challenges and uncertainties are you facing in your conservation work?” Above is the resulting word cloud that was created.

The organizing theme for the 2020 Fall Gathering was “Conservation in a Time of Uncertainty: Adapting to Challenges”.

2020 has been a time of great uncertainty. Organizations and individuals have been required to adapt to new and changing circumstances. Thus, adaptation was the focus of KCP’s 2020 Fall Gathering, both in the context of COVID-19 but also in the context of conservation and ecosystems.

To exercise an abundance of caution in consideration of the uncertainty around the impacts and threats of the COVID-19 virus, KCP hosted the 2020 Fall Gathering using a hybrid approach, offering both a virtual event and in-person localized field tours with a limited number of people.

For Day 1 of the Fall Gathering, a Virtual Conference and AGM took place on October 2  using the Zoom platform. More than 45 people joined from across the Kootenays (and Sweden!) to watch excellent presentations by our 4 guest speakers on a range of topics related to this year’s theme (see links to the recordings below), and participate in interactive “Conservation Cafe” discussions based on the same topics.

For Day 2, KCP coordinated localized tours at 4 different sites across the Kootenays, each in a different “Conservation Neighbourhood”: Kootenay Lake (Fish/Bear Lakes), Creston Valley (Yaqan Nukiy Wetlands), Columbia Valley (Galena Creek), and Elk Valley (Morrissey Meadows). Photo coverage of all 4 tours can be found below.

The hybrid approach exceeded our expectations and we extend our thanks to everyone who participated!

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Guest Speaker Presentations

Innovating outreach during COVID-19 (Duncan Whittick, Columbia Basin Environmental Education Network); Many conservation organizations are having to adapt quickly to deliver outreach information. Find out some innovative tools and techniques being used.

Digital Mapping Technologies for Conservation (Ian Parfitt, Selkirk Geospatial Research Centre). Digital technologies can provide innovative approaches to conservation including mapping tools and drones. Find out what your organization could be using to improve field techniques.

Micro-habitat restoration techniques for climate change (Casey McCormack, Idaho Department of Fish and Game). Spatial topography for creating microclimates during restoration work.

Designing climate adaptation corridors from south to north (Greg Utzig, Kutenai Nature Investigations Ltd.) – South-North corridors to allow migration of species for climate change adaptation, and linking riparian restoration to cold water refugia.

Kootenay Lake Field Tour

Fish/Bear Lakes

This tour explored the “Toad-Bear Corridor” in the Central Selkirk Mountains and participants learned about how toads are crossing the road, and why habitat connectivity and security for toads and bears is so important in this remote mountain pass.

Columbia Valley Field Tour

Galena Creek

This tour featured a joint Shuswap Indian Band-Columbia Wetlands Stewardship Partners restoration project on Galena Creek involving a new approach to opening fish passage and hydroriparian restoration work on agricultural land that will be a model for similar future projects in the Columbia Valley. The tour also included a presentation on the CWSP project measuring water loss in local wetlands due to climate change, on current species at risk surveys for Kootenay Connect, and creekbed restoration with regard to the railroad bed.

Creston Valley Field Tour

Yaqan Nukiy Wetlands

Norm Allard, Community Planner for the Lower Kootenay Band,  led this tour of restoration work in the Yaqan Nukiy wetlands. Participants found out more about the northern leopard frog recovery, bullfrog invasion, invasive plant, and wetland restoration.

Elk Valley Field Tour

Morrissey Meadows

This tour explored the Nature Conservancy of Canada ‘Morrissey Meadows’ property near Fernie and participants learned about local wildlife values, species at risk, landscape linkage, and wildlife crossings and corridors.