Category: Burns Bog

Pilgrimage to Burns Bog

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Protecting burns bog a Sacred Wetland Ecosystem

a brief history of more than 30 years of Unitarian engagement in this cause

photo: Burns Bog
photo: Burns Bog

Above: Photos courtesy of the Burns Bog Conservation Society

So you’d like to know more about the Pilgrimage to Burns Bog? Many Unitarians have heard of this annual meditative walk, usually in conjunction with the Earth Day Service put on by the Environment Team.

For others, Burns Bog is a big mystery. What is it? Why is it so important? Why would Unitarians help organize a pilgrimage to a “swamp?”

Karl Perrin a long-time member of the Environment Team, answers those questions.

By Karl Perrin — June 2020

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The first Pilgrimage to Burns Bog in the 1990’s was a multi-faith walk into the knee-deep bog before it was protected. For decades it had been considered worthless, and the City of Vancouver garbage dump was expanding into the bog, along with cranberry farms, and peat mining operations on its fringes …

What is Burns Bog?

Burns Bog is an ancient domed bog in Delta, B.C. It is ten times the size of Stanley Park. It provides habitat for several threatened and endangered species. An NDP provincial govt. had planned to pave half of it as a new site for the PNE. Gordon Campbell countered that if he became premier, he would preserve it. After his government was elected, four levels of government bought out private owners, and designated it as conservation lands off limits to all but a few trained volunteers preserving the wetness of the bog in dry weather. Several members of the UCV Enviro Committee participated in building dams to prevent the central dome from drying out, and potentially catching on fire.

link to youtube video

A short film Pilgrimage to Burns Bog ’09. Co-lead by Karl Perrin. Organized by the Metro Vancouver Interfaith Network and the Wilderness Committee

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To join UCV on the annual Pilgrimage and/or to learn more about UCV environment activities contact the Environment Team

Outreach Opportunities Fund New Recipient: Burns Bog

Our Outreach Opportunities Fund recipient for the June-Sept 2020 period is the Burns Bog Conservation Foundation, which was set up in 2002 as an endowment fund for the Burns Bog Conservation Society. Burns Bog is a globally unique ecosystem functioning as a major regulator of regional climate and as the “the Lungs of the Lower Mainland”. Endowment funds are also to be used for research relating to peatlands/wetlands and the development of an Education Centre. Read more about the connections between Burns Bog and the Vancouver Unitarians.

Earth Day Pilgrimage to Burns Bog

Earth Day Pilgrimage to Burns Bog
Carpool from the UCV parking lot
After the service on April 23
Pilgrimage begins at 2:00 pm at the Delta Nature Reserve

This family event celebrates Burns Bog and global peatlands. Performers sing, drum, and dance as we walk through the Delta Nature Reserve. Recharge your spirits while surrounded by nature and good company. Join us in appreciating this natural green space in your community!

Burns Bog is the largest raised peat bog and the largest undeveloped urban land mass on the West Coast of the Americas.[1] Burns Bog was originally 10,000–12,000 acres (4,000–4,900 ha) before development. Currently, only 3,500 hectares (8,600 acres) remain of the bog.[2] It is the only estuarine raised peat bog formed in a marine west coast climate.

Burns Bog is habitat to more than 300 plant and animal species, and 175 bird species. Some of these animals are listed as endangered (i.e. red-listed) or vulnerable (i.e. blue-listed) under the BC Provincial Government Species at-risk designations. The bog is also a major migratory stopover for various bird species on the Pacific Flyway.[3]

After decades of work by the Corporation of Delta and the Provincial Government, in 2012 The Convention on Wetlands recognized the bog as a “Ramsar Wetland of International Importance”. (Wikipedia) As in, it’s a big deal.

History of Earth Day

A U.S. senator named Gaylord Nelson came up with the idea for a “national teach-in on the environment” after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, Calif. Hoping to mobilize the politically active student community, he chose April 22nd (falling between Spring Break and final exams) as the official date. On that day in 1970, more than 20-million Americans took to the streets — as well as campuses, parks, and other public spaces — to demonstrate in support of a healthy, sustainable environment. By the end of the year, the United States Environmental Protection Agency had been created and the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts had all passed.

Two decades later, in 1990, Earth Day went global, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting environmental issues onto the world stage. Earth Day 1990 gave a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide and helped pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

Now, Earth Day is the largest secular observance in the world, celebrated by more than a billion people every year.

Earth Day Network