Nature Canada is Proud to Award the South Okanagan Similkameen National Park Network with the 2019 Conservation Partnership Award
The Conservation Partnership award is presented yearly to an organization that has demonstrated significant contributions toward conservation efforts in Canada. The award honours the work of various nature communities, from birding groups to community greening organizations, to provincial conservation groups, serving as a reminder that the country has a deep-rooted history of connecting nature organizations. Nature Canada proudly awards and recognizes the South Okanagan Similkameen National Park Network (SOSNPN) with the 2019 award for their continued conservation efforts and collaborative work with Parks Canada.
The South Okanagan Similkameen Park Reserve is located in southern British Columbia. This national park reserve is known as Canada’s “pocket desert,” with some of Canada’s most unique ecosystems and species. This region is internationally recognized as an essential area for biodiversity conservation, with the grassland ecosystems being some of Canada’s most endangered. It is also home to the highest concentration of provincially and federally listed species at risk in the country. With conservation being of the utmost importance, officials from Parks Canada, the government of B.C and First Nations agreed to work together and move forward to create a South Okanagan Similkameen National Park Reserve.
Looking toward the future
“SOSNPN has been working together for about 20 years. Our work has been mostly about getting correct information to the community and beyond. We have heard so many thank you comments, but we have never received official recognition such as the Nature Canada Conservation Partner Award.” The organization said regarding receiving the award. “Everyone was so pleased to be recognized for their long-time efforts supporting the national park here.”
Their area of focus for 2021 will be to continue working with Parks Canada, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society British Columbia (CPAWS BC) and others to conserve the grasslands of the South Okanagan, including Vaseux Lake and White Lake Protected areas.
The White Lake Basin has long been a priority for conservation efforts in the Okanagan. With hot, dry grasslands, open pine forests, ponds, and rock outcroppings, this protected area is a tremendous example of the gradient B.C landscape, from lakeside to mountain top. It provides life for endangered and at-risk wildlife and plants. White Lake Grasslands Protected Area is quite large, containing other protected areas around Vaseux Lake.
Nature brings connection
Like many nature organizations across Canada, the SOSNPN has noticed a newfound appreciation for nature in their community due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “More and more people are enjoying being in nature whether it is from discovering birds in their backyards or walks in the local parks. It is the enthusiasm of naturalists and conservation groups that will expand interest and knowledge to those who are just discovering the importance of our natural world and the need to protect it. We must never give up.”
For more information on SOSNPN and their conservation work, visit their website.