NATURE WISE: ‘Tis the season to support conservation with a little shopping

Solve some of your gift buying problems and help the environment without even leaving home.

As we near the end of the year we are all bombarded by letters and emails to donate to various organizations of one sort or another, groups that feed the hungry and buy presents for poor families, research organizations that attack one disease or another, pleas to help buy hospital equipment and so on.

All of these are good causes and my wife and I support a great many of them.

We also like to support conservation organizations and many of these make it possible to donate and give a gift at the same time.

Public opinion polls show that more than 85 per cent of people living in the Okanagan valley care about nature and the environment so you can solve some of your gift buying problems and help the environment without even leaving home.

Young children in particular love getting gifts of animals — in this case I mean virtual animals.  Your gift can adopt a Great Horned Owl, a grizzly bear, a whale or even an acre of endangered habitat.

An additional plus with a conservation gifts is that you get a charitable donation tax receipt.

Here are a few ideas for conservation gifting.

South Okanagan Rehabilitation Centre for Owls (SORCO) — www.sorco.org.

This group operates a facility near Oliver that is devoted entirely to the rescue of large birds of prey, including owls, eagles and various hawks.

When an injured or otherwise suffering bird is brought in, they get needed veterinary services and feed and care for the bird until it can be released back into the wild.  Because it is necessary to keep the birds from becoming habituated to humans, SORCO’s operating permit from the provincial government does not allow them to give tours of their facility except under special circumstances.

They do however usually invite the public to the locations where the birds will be released back into the wild.

On their website under the “donate” button you will find that you can adopt a bird and receive a certificate giving the details of your adoption.  A great gift for a grandchild!

The Wilderness Committee works to save endangered ecosystems (such as the South Okanagan- Similkameen grasslands) as well as endangered species. If you are not an on-line type of shopper, our local book stores carry  a number of nature books by local authors including great books by Dick Cannings of Penticton and Don Gayton of Summerland.

Bob Handfield is President of the South Okanagan Naturalists’ Club but the views expressed here are his own and not necessarily those of the Club.