The Peninsula Streams Society helps co-ordinate stream restoration and habitat conservation on the Saanich Peninsula.

Ian Bruce was one of the founders of the non-profit organization, which was created in 2002.

“Streams, beaches, or in some cases meadows or whatever you want to look after, we’ll help you look after it,” Bruce said.

“We’re out here today at [Esquimalt] Gorge Park, testing the beach sediments for eggs from forage fish. Forage fish are small fish like herring, sand lance, which are also known as needlefish, or surf smelt, which convert plankton into fish flesh, and [that translates] all the way up the food chain to the orcas. They’re under threat from climate change, from pollution, sea-level rise, all sorts of threats.”

Peninsula Streams Society is made up of just three staff members, supporting hundreds of volunteers.

“We’re essentially training more trainers so that if we want to do a survey on a beach in Oak Bay. We can find all our stewards who’ve been trained in the area to come help us out with the survey,”  says Brian Koval from Peninsula Streams Society.

One of those being trained is Yogi Carolsfeld from World Fisheries Trust.

“Here at the [Esquimalt Gorge Park] Nature House, we have a nice profile.  Lots of people coming and looking at things, so we’ll be monitoring the beach that we tested this morning,” says Carolsfeld.

“We’ll build it into the beach programs that we have with the kids, you know, showing them a little bit of hands-on stuff like that.  I think it creates a big impact.”

When asked about funding for the non-profit, Bruce proudly explained the society’s new relationship with the Victoria Foundation.

“Last year we were fortunate to receive a one-time windfall donation from the Knights of Pythias, and we decided to put that money into our own endowment fund at the Victoria Foundation. It’s a way of ensuring that we’ll have funding that will continue into the future, [as well as] an opportunity for people to give,” says Bruce.

And while Peninsula Streams Society is grateful for every donation of money, you can always give time, through volunteering.

And what kind of volunteers are the society looking for?

“All walks of life!” says Koval. “Young to old, scientists, non-scientists… Vancouver Islanders love their beaches,” Koval explains.

“And we want to make sure we have nice beautiful beaches with lots of wildlife for our great great grandchildren to enjoy.   So we’ve got to take the steps now to ensure that that happens.”

Veronica Cooper