The Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve Society (GBHNRS) was founded in 2000. We are a non-profit organization and registered charity that works to offer educational programs to the community and to protect the significant natural features - including habitat for the Pacific Great Blue Heron and multiple other species at risk - on 325 acres of rare undyked wetland along the Vedder river just West of Chilliwack, British Columbia.
The GBHNRS acknowledges that Indigenous Peoples have been subjected to colonial injustice and oppression which continues to this day. We acknowledge that the beginning step to reconciliation is recognizing Indigenous Peoples and their intrinsic rights to the land.
GBHNRS recognizes and seeks to support the Stó:lō peoples in the Fraser Valley, who have historically stewarded this land that is their sacred territory. We are actively working together with the Stó:lō People on projects to educate our community and conserve natural spaces of the Nature Reserve and surrounding area.
We are incorporating traditional knowledge into our interpretive information under their guidance and recommendation as we continue to steward this land for the benefit of humans and nature alike. We admire the immeasurable value of the traditional knowledge of the Stó:lō People and their ways of interacting with nature, and will work to maintain our relationship with their community.
We strive to ensure that we are creating a better future by continuing to strengthen our relationship with the Stó:lō peoples and these lands within their sacred territory.
To offer programs designed to broaden the community’s awareness and appreciation for the natural and historical values of the Nature Reserve through research, exhibits, tours, and educational programs while conserving and enhancing habitat for wildlife on the Nature Reserve, for the benefit of Chilliwack and area's community and the surrounding environment.
We envision the Nature Reserve's protection in perpetuity as a habitat for wildlife and a basis for our community's education and awareness of stewarding our natural world.
The following values statements guide and inspire every decision and action at the Nature Reserve Society:
Education: access to all who visit for education on stewarding this land
Stewardship: stewarding the Nature Reserve to protect this rare habitat for the wildlife in our region
Collaboration: meaningful collaboration with Indigenous Peoples and other conservation bodies
Strong Relationships: maintaining and enhancing our relationship with our community
Respect: respect for the Stó:lō peoples in the Fraser Valley (S’ólh Téméxw), who have historically stewarded this land, as well as all volunteers, staff members, donors, and all others involved with the organization
Accountability: being accountable for our results, decisions, and resources
Sandy Tait Gregory Schmaltz
Janice Aver Ian Fenwick
Donna Hayes Morian Perepelitza
Deborah Soutar Sonny McHalsie