Tag Archives: Autumn Barrett-Morgan

FOCI’s Create, Connect and Conserve series

The Friends of Cortes Island (FOCI) summer programs have long been popular with tourists and summer. This year FOCI wanted to offer something for the year round community. 

“ The inspiration is partly wanting to make sure that more members of the community know about FOCI. We do a lot of projects, but they’re not really shiny and we don’t really advertise them.  They’re on our website, but if people don’t go there and read about them, they don’t know that they’re happening,” explained Soma Feldmar, the society’s Administrative Assistant.

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What FOCI Achieved in 2023

With the Friends of Cortes Island (FOCI) AGM coming up on November 28, it seemed like an ideal time to ask Executive Director Helen Hall what the society achieved in 2023. 

“We’re actually doing 14 different projects, which involve everything from habitat restoration and conservation through to environmental monitoring and community education.  I just wanted to highlight some of those projects,”she explained.

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Things to do: Summer with FOCI

The Friends of Cortes Island (FOCI) have a full slate of events this summer. 

They started July with a tour of the off-grid agricultural oasis, Blue Jay Farm, followed by a low tide exploration of the natural and local history of Mansons Lagoon.

“They’ve gone really well, and we have these other six events coming up,” explained to Helen Hall, Executive Director of FOCI.

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Filming Dillon Creek, more than just a wetland restoration

Lives changed because of the Dillon Creek Wetland Restoration.

Project manager Miranda Cross said, “ This project really initiated a whole new life path where I am now working as a wetland restoration professional.” 

Monitoring Technician Autumn Barret Morgan studied soundscapes before she came to Cortes Island, but it was at Dillon Creek that she “started really diving into the soundscape” – which she has carried on with the Western Screech Owl Monitoring Project.

Beatrix Baxter has been making films for about 15 years, but she was feeling burned out by the time she moved to Cortes Island. The documentary film Replenish: Bringing Back the Dillon Creek Wetland is both a chronicle of the project, and part of a personal transformation.

“I’m pretty choosy about the projects I take on these days. I just really want to choose projects that are going to be quite meaningful to me and to the world,” she explained. 

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Provincial Biologist visits Cortes Island; Second Western Screech Owl discovered

A provincial biologist visited Cortes Island over the weekend. Emily Upham-Mills is an ecosystems biologist with the Ministry of Water, Lands and Natural Resource Stewardship and an important member of the team working with the Friends of Cortes Island (FOCI) on the Western Screech Owl Project

Helen Hall, Executive Director of FOCI, explained, “Emily very kindly came up on the weekend to talk to the community. This project is really important for FOCI. We’re doing really interesting scientific work and that data is going back both provincially and federally. It puts us in the spotlight with this particular species. It’s a project that’s running for three years. We’re in the second year of trying to discover whether there are Western Screech Owls on Cortes Island.” 

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