Over $25,000 was raised in donations and pledges to kick-off the fundraising to acquire and restore Kus-kus-sum last week. “It was very inspiring to see all the people and commitments that were made at the Keeping It Living Kick-off event” said Paul Horgen, Project Watershed Chair. Chief Councillor Nicole Rempel welcomed the crowd and said a few words about the cultural importance of the site to the K’ómoks people as it once was an area where the dead were put to rest in boxes or on wooden platforms in trees. City of Courtenay Councillor Doug Hillian was very encouraging and supportive when he addressed the crowd, making a pledge to donate all funds raised at his retirement party to the Kus-kus-sum initiative. Tricia St. Pierre, owner of Locals Restaurant, spoke to the flooding exacerbated by the wall and unattractive quality of the site. She made it clear natural habitat would be a welcome change and volunteered to distribute information and requests for sponsorship to her customers.
Transforming the industrial site into natural habitat was compared to performing a coronary surgery for the estuary – keeping the heart of our community living. People at the event were reminded that q’waq’wala7owkwa (Keeping It Living) means more than just having a zero impact but instead having a positive long term relationship with our ecosystem.
To inform people and encourage donations a 2x3ft diagram of a section of the paved property was on display, as people gave money they sponsored a green habitat component and placed it on the map, changing it from grey to green. In this same vein, near the end of the event, people were asked to help unpave the parking lot and put up a paradise. A wide range of people stepped forward, said a few words and made donations ranging from $200 to over $2,000.
Local artist Martha Jablonski-Jones, who has donated her artwork “Long Road to Comox”, was present as was artist Ian Fry, who has created and donated the images of the habitat components that people can sponsor.
Long Road to Comox – Martha Jablonski-Jones
Shane Philips of Island Soul Films made a video that gives a brief look at the event and photographers John Bonner, Rob Haigh and Megan Lawrence also helped capture the evening.
While this event was a success, we still have $75,000 to raise by December and another $400,000 after that. Please help keep up the momentum and donate today.
(Left to Right) Courtenay Councillor Doug Hillian, K’ómoks First Nation Chief Councillor Nicole Rempel, Project Watershed Chair Paul Horgen, – Photo Credit Bonner Photography
Habitat Components You Can Sponsor
$100 Low Marsh
The low marsh is located along the river edge of the salt marsh. It is usually flooded at every tide and exposed during low tide. The lowest section of the Kus-kus-sum marsh will be wet at all tides. Plants in this area will include Lyngby’s sedge (Carex lyngbyi), sea milkwort (Lysimachia maritima), and silverweed (Potentilla anserina).
$250 High Marsh
The high marsh lies between the low marsh and the marsh’s upland border. Soils in the high marsh are mostly saturated, and the high marsh is generally flooded only during higher than average high tides. Plants in this area will include Springbank Clover (Trifolium wormskioldii), tussock grass (Deschampsia cespitosa) and Henderson’s Checker Mallow (Sidelcea hendersonii).
$500 Channels & Ponds
Channels and ponds weave their way through the salt marsh area. They will connect Kus-kus-sum to Hollyhock Flats (south) and provide passage, escape and refuge for fish and other aquatic species.
$1000 Trees & Shrubs
Trees and shrubs will be located on the salt marsh’s upland edge and other isolated areas on the marsh where elevations are slightly above the high marsh. This area is usually only flooded at extreme tides and under irregular conditions such as storm surges or wind-driven tidal inundations, and does not experience waterlogged conditions or severe salt stress.
As everything from microbes to megafauna is important to the healthy functioning of an ecosystem, all donations big and small are needed for acquiring and restoring Kus-kus-sum. You can use our general donation button to make a contribution of any size. You can also make monthly donations over a set amount of months by visiting our monthly donation section. For large donations or donations that are not cash please call 250-703-2871 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.