COLUMNS: Grants help environmental groups continue important work

One of the great pleasures of being an MLA is being able to announce community gaming grants to local non-profit organizations.

One of the great pleasures of being an MLA is being able to announce community gaming grants to local non-profit organizations.

The B.C. government approves $135 million every year in community gaming grants to more than 5,000 non-profit groups throughout B.C. The money comes from the province’s gaming revenues, and each grant helps an organization fulfill its mandate and support programs and services.

Grants are given out to groups in six categories: Arts and Culture, Sport, Environment, Public Safety, Human and Social Services, and schools’ Parent Advisory Councils and District Parent Advisory Councils.

Last month, four Williams Lake-based environmental organizations received a combined $142,000 in community gaming grants.

The Invasive Species Council of British Columbia received $100,000 for its education, awareness and training program.

The ISCBC uses gaming funds to support programs that target youth, gardeners and recreationists across the Cariboo, says executive director Gail Wallin. Local gardening clubs want more information on the PlantWise program so they can assist gardeners in avoiding planting and trading invasive garden plants.

Local lake stewardship groups want to help protect lakes from invasive species such as Eurasian milfoil, invasive mussels, etc. Workshops were held last year for the south Cariboo (Green Lakes, Deka, etc.) for those who want more information on volunteering, water monitoring, signage, boat inspections, etc.

The Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society was awarded a grant of $19,000 to support its sustainable life education programs, including Waste Wise classes throughout the region. This includes community education on recycling, green events and compost coaching, says executive director and education co-ordinator Marg Evans.

The society’s Water Wise program has been running for nine years and has seen a 27 per cent reduction in water use over this time period. Water Wise classes are presented within the Central Interior and include city water and waste site tours and education on stormwater systems.

The Williams Lake Field Naturalists received a $12,000 grant to go toward the Scout Island Nature Centre, which helps the organization provide school and community programs year round.

Children and adults will be outside with educators learning about nature first hand, how to identify a bird, recognize tracks and learn about our native plants, says Sue Hemphill, the nature centre’s environmental educator.

The funding is stretched through the many hours of work done by volunteers – maintaining trails, tracking animal life, building displays, leading programs and welcoming visitors when they come in the door.

The Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Invasive Plant Committee was awarded an $11,000 grant for education and outreach programs.

The society works to increase the awareness and minimize the impacts of invasive plants in our region through local education, outreach and co-ordinated management efforts, says co-ordinator Jessica Knodel.

The CCCIPC is a multi-stakeholder organization that includes government agencies, First Nations, individuals, communities and industry sectors, and works closely with the Cariboo Regional District.

As with most non-profit organizations, these four groups rely on the valuable contributions of their volunteers, who put in countless hours to ensure the operations run smoothly and essential tasks are carried out.

If your organization is interested in applying for a community gaming grant, information and applications can be found at


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