Sometimes, you just have to let it be
Updated: May 5
Lots of Wildlife Habitat Stewards partner with OSS and embark on projects to enhance the wildlife habitat on their properties. These projects are important to help improve and increase the declining amount of habitat left for wildlife in our area. Sometimes there could be areas with invasive plants that need to be managed, or maybe there is an eroding bit of riverbank that needs replanting. A handful of our Stewards even take on long-term large-scale restoration projects, like the vineyard-to-floodplain conversion that Mt Boucherie Winery is doing with us in Keremeos (above).
Many other Stewards however, don't do very much at all with their stewarded habitats and this approach is just as important and valid as a more hands-on approach.
It essentially boils down to the fact that nature is far better at taking care of itself than we are. Humans are very hands-on creatures; we have an insatiable need to fiddle with and 'fix' things, even when they don't need fixing! A acreage of healthy forest, a tangled riverbank thicket, or a cattail-filled wetland are very likely functioning just fine on their own and will continue to function as long as they are protected from threats. That protection is what our hands-off stewards do and it is critically important to keep these high-quality patches of habitat intact,as they are often refuges for wildlife in a human-dominated landscape. Being predominantly hands-off doesn't mean being ignored though! We have completed wildlife surveys, put up game cameras, and conducted educational talks at some of our stewards properties, in addition to always being available to provide advice or recommendations.
Hands-off stewards help us as an organisation as well. Signing up for the Wildlife Habitat Steward program, even if you don't think the habitat on your property needs help, demonstrates to our funders that we have local interest, support, and need for stewardship and ensures that we can continue to assist landowners who have habitats that do need help.