Mosaic Forest Management teams up with the Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society to construct a Viewing Tower at the Somenos Marsh Open Air Classroom
Today, the Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society and Mosaic Forest Management hosted a sod-turning event celebrating the future site of the Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society Viewing Tower.
The new tower, a first for the S-amuna’/Somenos Conservation Area, will be located near the entrance to the Open Air Classroom, an educational outdoor experience that includes a multi-use trail network, elevated boardwalk and informational signage about some of the 200 bird species that make the marsh home. Construction on the six metres (20ft) high viewing tower has begun and the project will be completed in summer 2019. Mosaic Forest Management is a major funder of the project.
“This generous contribution from Mosaic together with contributions from David Coulson Design, Bavarian Lumber, as well as numerous others, along with the beautiful design by M&L Timber Framing, allows us to proceed with construction of the six metres (20ft) high viewing tower” said Paul Fletcher, President of the Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society. “This tower or “beacon for conservation” will provide a visible exclamation point to the years of effort by many volunteers in reclaiming this site which originally was home to a turn-of-the-century large sawmill and more recently a retail boat sales business”.
“The viewing tower will be an excellent way for students to learn about nature and the importance of conservation,”said Domenico Iannidinardo, Mosaic’s Chief Forester and Vice President of Forest & Sustainability. “In 2016 we donated the Somenos lakebed to Ducks Unlimited Canada, and the addition of this viewing tower will be a highlight for students, teachers and adventurers for many years to come.”
“We wish to extend our thanks to the staff and leadership at the Municipality of North Cowichan for their support in guiding this project through the administrative approval process” said Fletcher.
“We are also so very thankful to all of the past volunteers for their efforts; we would be remiss if we did not single out Howie George, owner of HG Excavating, who supplied workers and equipment, at no cost, to remove and dispose of the asphalt that once covered a large portion of the Open Air Classroom”.
“The viewing tower represents the culmination of 30 years of efforts by the Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society in first protecting, then reclaiming this site and will be a shining example of local support” Fletcher concluded.
“Local support has been important from a financial perspective with over 1,000 sponsored boards on the boardwalk in the OAC” Fletcher went on to say that “due to structural issues with the board material we are now nearing completion of replacing all of the boards in the boardwalk. We have taken this opportunity to reorganize the boards so that there is now an opportunity to sponsor 200 new boards. This will be the last opportunity to get your name, or the names of your loved ones onto the boards”
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