Sierra Quadra: A Time For Community Resilience

Sierra Quadra is in the midst of a three part campaign on the Climate Crises And Community Resilience. This kicked off last month, with a showing of the film “Beyond Climate’ at the Quadra Island Community Centre and there are upcoming panel discussions on February 29 and March 28, 2020. (details at the bottom of this page).

“Quadra is going to be facing the consequences of climate change, like everywhere else. We, as a community, have to take responsibility for this and come to community resilient solutions. To open this [series] we found that David Suzuki’s film ‘Beyond Resilience’ is inspiring and offers people a way to think what can we do,” says Geraldine Kenny, one of the founding directors of Sierra Quadra.  

How Sierra Quadra Came Into Being

Sierra Quadra was founded in 1998 and two of the founding directors are still on the board. 

Ray Grigg is known for his books on Taoism, including the best selling “The Tao of Relationships” and the newspaper column Shades of Green that was carried by a number of Vancouver Island publications between 2000 and 2016. During the mid 1990s he, the late Judy Leicester and Noel Lax sat on Quadra Island’s Forest Resources Committee, along with a group of loggers. They were attempting to negotiate local cutblock sizes, riparian zones and an old growth age class. 

Sierra Quadra - Lunch for Site C
Sierra Quadra members serving at a 2017 Community Lunch in aid of Site C. (Geraldine Kenny in centre, Doni Laird to her right) – courtesy SIerra Club BC. (During the first quarter of 2018, Sierra Quadra raised $4,500 to help the Peace Valley Landowner Association.)

They were joined by Geraldine Kenny, who suggested, “You need a larger organization behind you that has money, clout and influence, specifically political influence. The Sierra Club of British Columbia is interested in establishing local groups, so why not join them?” 

Kenny was already a member. Raised in Europe, she had never seen anything like the environmental destruction left by the forestry sector. Kenny and her husband, Rod Burns, were living in Victoria BC when an article about clear cutting, in Monday Magazine, provided the final push. Geraldine marched into to Sierra Club BC office on View street and signed up. She is one of the provincial organization’s director’s today

“I was absolutely devastated, angry, frustrated at the logging practises in this province. No where in the world had I seen clearcuts that stretched for kilometres across hillsides. Streams being completely trashed; leaving behind devastation.”  

Sierra Quadra grew out of a group of 20 Quadra Islanders who were passionately involved with the preservation of their local forests. They do not have a President or Chair Person. “We make decisions collectively,” by reaching a consensus.

Earth Day Beach Clean-ups

Sierra Quadra - May Day 2016
Sierra Quadra Directors (l to r) Geraldine Kenny, Ray Grigg, Angela Koch and Ken Roxburgh (Robyn Budd missing) receiving Quadra Islands 2016 May Day Award – courtesy Sierra Club BC

“There was a bit of bad blood at that time between the environmentalists, or Sierra Quadra, and  local forestry workers – most of whom are wood lot owners, through we still had Timberwaste (pun intended). We were seen as anti-industry, anti-people fighting for their jobs. So Ken Roxburgh, who was on our board, said ‘we’ve got to do some community building here.’” 

Sierra Quadra’s first Earth Day Beach clean-up was held  on April 25, 1998. The Quadra Credit Union, Klaus Masonry, Quadra Elementary, the Quadra Conservancy, Paradise Bay Seafarms, community volunteers and students from Carihi Secondary School, in Campbell River, all participated. Four tons of styrofoam, oyster farm cages, tires, plastics and other garbage was hauled off the beaches. 

This became an annual event and in 2016 the community of Quadra Island gave Sierra Quadra the May Day civic award “in recognition of their 19 years of organizing and staging the Annual Quadra Island Beach Clean Up, a completely volunteer driven event involving hundreds of volunteer hours.”

Save the Heart of Quadra Parks

In 2012, Sierra Quadra supporters raised $250,000 in six months to purchase the 405 hectares of land between Octopus Islands Park was expanded and Small Inlet Park in North Quadra. The Discovery Islander lists a number of well known Sierra members as part of the committee to Save the Heart of Quadra Parks.

“It was Judy, however, who kept the dream of the park alive and she who initiated the Save the Heart of Quadra Parks fundraising project. For more than a decade, she maintained the connection between the island, the company and Parks. It was her energy and commitment which carried the committee through the first months of fundraising.”

Kenny adds that, “When Judy died, Susan Western was key to finishing the fundraising.  She was heroic in her commitment, climbing the fundraising thermometer weekly with her red paint brush.”

Sierra Quadra in Victoria for Gov't press conference
Geraldine Kenny speaking at the BC Government’s ave the Heart of Quadra Parks press conference in Victoria, March 25, 2014.

 (In response to the Quadra Island fund raiser, the Province of British Columbia, BC Marine Parks Forever Society and Vancity Community Foundation donated the funds needed to complete the purchase.)

Quadra Island Trails

A number of Sierra Quadra members were active in the Quadra Trails Committee. Noel Lax was one of the founding members, but the late Judy Leicester was singled out when the following speech was made at the dedication of the sculpture erected on the Community Centre Trail: 

“This is a beautiful carving, and I want to say that it’s not really here as a shrine, it’s not really here as a memorial – it’s here for us to remember all the trails volunteers over the years who have worked to keep our trails safe and maintained. Judy Leicester was one of them, and she dedicated so much to get us going and to keep us going…. Some people leave us way too soon, and some people leave us way too young, and they’re way too loved. This sculpture is to remember Judy Leicester, who was one of those people.”  

Quadra Island Parks – courtesy BC Government via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License)

Sierra Quadra: Against Fish Farms

“Fundraising and local events are at the heart of what we do. Right now we are raising awareness of the Central Island Protected Area and the debilitating heart and skeletal muscle inflammation that has been discovered in BC’s farmed salmon. HSMI could have devastating consequences for BC wild salmon populations. “HSMI is related to piscine reovirus the way HIV is related to AIDS,” says Ray Grigg …” – description of Sierra Quadra from the Sierra Club BC website

2019 Series: Building Community Resilience

Rex Weyler – writer, ecologist and co-founder of Greenpeace International – is a keynote speaker on Feb 29 & one of the panelists on Mar 28, 2020.

From the very beginning, Sierra Quadra has brought films and speakers to the island. This year’s campaign started last month, with the film ‘Beyond resilience.” According to their press release, the next two offerings consist of: 

“On Saturday February 29 we present Climate Crisis: Broad Perspectives, Local Actions. Rex Weyler – author, journalist, and ecologist – will be our keynote speaker, joined by a panel of islanders with expertise in emergency services, community health, and food security. The event aims to introduce community resilience initiatives already in process, and foster connections amongst people with ideas and skills to share. An audience discussion will again be a key part of the evening program.”   

“Saturday March 28, 2020: Psychological and Spiritual Resilience in a Time of Climate Crisis offers a dialogue between the audience and an expert panel comprising Jan Zwicky, Robert Bringhurst, Matthew Kelly and Rex Weyler. Collectively, these environmentally conscious panelists bring insights and wisdom from a wide range of fields, including philosophy, history, psychology, activism, literature, linguistics and mythology. Jan and Robert are the authors of many books, including, most recently, Learning to Die: Wisdom in an Age of Climate Crisis. Matthew is a practicing Jungian psychologist, and Rex is a founding member of Greenpeace and continues to be an active participant in ecological awareness and initiatives. This is a rare gathering of some of the best minds on how we might think and what we might do in arguably the most critical period in human civilization. They are here to dialogue with you on the most worrisome issues and searching questions that you might have.”

“Admission to Sierra Quadra events at the Quadra Community Centre is by donation. Doors open at 7pm and presentations begin at 7:30. Refreshments and desserts are available.” 

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