About Us

Celebrating over 20 years of environmental awareness and stewardship

The Port Moody Ecological Society is a 100% volunteer-operated training facility whose mandate is to operate a salmon hatchery and water quality testing laboratory located on land owned by the City of Port Moody.  Each year, our volunteers donate 10,000 hours of their time operating the hatchery, conducting water quality testing in our laboratory, participating in community outreach programmes – including our own environmental festival that attracts over 80 organisation and 5,500 visitors from Metro Vancouver per year.  We also conduct over 50 school programmes throughout the year.  Our volunteers, lead by Dave Bennie, developed an interpretive trail and a community invasive species removal project.

We welcome everyone interested in volunteering or a tour to drop by the hatchery from Monday to Saturday between 9:00 am and 11:00 am or call (604) 469-9106.

Acknowledging that we are on the unceded, occupied, ancestral and traditional lands of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish),Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

Introduction

The Port Moody Ecological Society has been working tirelessly for over 20 years to foster a love of our environment through education and outreach in the Tri-Cities.  Throughout the year, our dedicated volunteers work with school programmes, outreach and environmental education at local festivals, and hatchery events.

Our Noons Creek salmon hatchery is a 100% volunteer operated facility – some of our volunteers work seven days a week during peak times and have been called out in the middle of the night when the alarms go off because the temperatures are too cold for the salmon.  We raise coho and chum salmon from eggs to fingerlings (young fish) before releasing them during the Fingerling Festival each May for their four year journey in the Pacific Ocean.  The hatchery is a wonderful place for families to bring their children to learn about the cycle of life and everyone is welcomed to come into the building for a visit, to feed the fish, and to learn about what the volunteers are doing.  Dave Bennie, a long term volunteer, gives the local dogs biscuits as they walk by, which is another opportunity for community involvement.

Many of our volunteers are students seeking volunteer hours, new immigrants looking to meet friends and become involved in their local community (including one of our past Presidents Sandra Niven, Ben Mackereth and Brian Wormald from Australia), and retired professionals.  Our acknowledgement that everyone leads very busy lives makes us an ideal place for volunteers who cannot make a weekly commitment – students can leave for weeks at a time to study for exams then return, for example.

Since 1990, our Fingerling Festival has been one of British Columbia’s fastest growing environmental festivals, attracting over 50 exhibitors / community groups and over 4,000 people of all ages to the City of Port Moody each year.  We strive to create a learning experience at the hatchery and to bring relevant and fun activities to the festival each year and achieve this through the efforts of our Director of Special Events, Dave Bennie, and his team that begin working on the festival as early as November the year before.

Community Involvement

Since 2010, we have dramatically increased our online presence through our website, www.noonscreek.org, Facebook and Twitter (Noons Creek), email and our newsletter.  These tools allow us to stay in touch with our volunteers and inform them of upcoming events such as egg takes on the Alouette, and to inform members of the public of our upcoming events.

Our current activities include offering streamkeeper and aqua bug courses, tours of the watersheds for local residents, visiting other hatcheries, and school programmes.

We actively participate in various events including:

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup (over 160 people of all ages attended at our event in 2011)
  • Streamkeepers Course
  • Egg take at the Alouette River with the DFO
  • Hyde Creek Festival and Hoy-Scott Creek Festival
  • Treefest
  • Earth Day Festival at Burnaby Lake
  • Displays at the Port Moody Library
  • Watershed tour for the Klahanie community
  • UBC Biodiversity Museum tour
  • Fish health courses
  • Field trips to Pacific Coast Terminals and other hatcheries
  • Ugly Bug Ball bi-annual camping event for volunteers held by the DFO
  • Salmonid Enhancement Programme (SEP) bi-annual event for volunteers held by the DFO

Shop Locally

As part of our ongoing community involvement, we encourage the Tri-Cities community to shop locally.  We have successfully held an online competition asking for ideas on shopping locally and offering prizes from local businesses and hope to make this an annual event.

Working with Dogs

It is very important to us that we create and maintain our relationships with dog owners whilst protecting the watersheds and salmon eggs.  For the past three years, we have successfully campaigned with the City of Port Moody to create awareness of the fragility of our ecosystem by asking dog owners to keep their dogs on leashes and out of the creek and estuary between November and April each year.

If a salmon is scared during spawning, it can mean the loss of between 3,000 and 4,500 eggs.

About the Noons Creek Hatchery

The Port Moody Ecological Society is a broadly-based, community supported, federally [Canada] registered, charitable non-profit society, incorporated under the British Columbia Societies Act, February 11, 1991.

The Port Moody Ecological Society volunteers operate a coho and chum salmon hatchery, a water quality lab and public awareness/ community outreach programs, using salmon life-cycle ecology as an instructional vehicle.

Located within the beautiful Shoreline Park, the hatchery site includes an off-channel fish habitat, water quality lab, volunteer hand-dug enhanced wetland area and outdoor classrooms, located close to the mouth of the Noons Creek watershed in Port Moody, British Columbia.

Noons Creek flows 11 kilometers (7 miles) from its headwaters just above Cypress Lake (el. 830 m [2,700 ft]) on Eagle Mountain, through the Cities of Coquitlam and Port Moody into Port Moody Arm of Burrard Inlet (Pacific Ocean).

Noons Creek is one of the two major creeks of the 31 that flow into Port Moody Arm of Burrard Inlet.

Society Number: S27189

Charitable Group Registration with charitable status by the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency):  89082 1523 RR0001

History

The streams of this area once teemed with salmon and trout.

Middens left by First Nations communities at the mouth of Noons Creek suggest that this sheltered area was once a favourite fishing ground.

The loss of the original salmon runs here reflects the decline of salmon stocks on countless similar small creeks along the entire Pacific coast, largely caused by habitat degradation and urbanization.

Noons Creek Hatchery

By working to enhance salmonid stocks and protecting riparian habitat, we also help many other species.

The population of harbour seals in the Inlet increases each fall as salmon return to spawn, as well as otter, minx, bears, bald eagles, coyotes, bobcats, American dippers, ospreys, great blue herons, to list a few.  We often see these animals throughout the year near the hatchery and throughout the park.

The parkland the hatchery is located on is leased from the City of Port Moody.

Bennie’s Trail

The interpretive trail loop was opened in October 2012 and was the culmination of two months of hard work by Dave Bennie, Kuldip Singh Manhas, Toufiq Paiman, Brian Wormald and several other volunteers.  Teaming up with TD Tree Days and the Evergreen Foundation, approximately $2,000 worth of native trees and shrubs were planted around the hatchery and along the trail.  The trail is named after Dave Bennie and his father, Doug Bennie, both of whom loved the hatchery and volunteered countless hours ensuring its success.  Read more about Doug and Dave’s volunteer history here……

Before that happened, PMES volunteers felt it would add more value if the planting and trail could be incorporated with an ‘identification plan’.  For this to happen, the public would need to be able to get into the forest to appreciate them.  So, under the direction of Dave Bennie, several short trails were planned to navigate the forest that surrounds the hatchery building.

After the planting, several footbridges over the beautiful small waterways were created using recycled materials and mulch was donated for use on the trail.  Metal plates are attached to trees containing the plant’s common name, scientific name and photo.  This is not only for the general public’s benefit but is now an adjunct to the PMES school programmes.

PMES worked with the City of Port Moody to officially recognise the trail as an entity within the City. This culminated in trail-head signs being erected by the City on April 14th, 2014.  Then on July 12th, 2014 the Mayor of Port Moody Mike Clay, other city dignitaries and community partners officiated at the ‘opening’ of Bennie’s Trail.  On hand also were Vivienne Bennie (Dave’s mom and Doug’s widow) and Jean Folkestead (Doug’s sister) to accept the dedication in recognition of Doug’s contribution to the Society and community in general.

The event was covered by the local SNAPD Coquitlam newspaper as well. Check out their article at this link:  http://www.snapcoquitlam.com/index.php?option=com_sngevents&id[]=697589

Meet the Board

Brian Wormald – President and Membership Secretary:  Brian has a number of years of hatchery experience and is a valued, active member of our Society.  He has been a volunteer for most of his adult life in various capacities for a wide range of organizations – in several countries. He assisted with the development of Bennies Trail with other core volunteers in 2012 and in his role as President, sees an opportunity to help stay the course for the Society in our valuable day-to-day activities whilst encouraging the community to get involved and add much value through culturally diverse ideas and local area pride.

Dave Bennie – Vice President and Director of Special Events & School Programs:  has been a member of the PMES for around 20 years and is one of our most valued members. Dave has received two environmental awards for his volunteer work with the hatchery and other organisations in the Tri-Cities. One of his personally treasured key roles is as the Director of the Fingerling Festival and as the co-ordinator of the hatchery, helping to ensure that our volunteers are always having fun and enjoying themselves. Dave is also the immediate Past President for PMES, having held the position in 2014.

Jennifer Whitcher – Laboratory and Water Quality Manager:  we are one of the very few volunteer organizations in Canada that does water quality testing, something we’ve done for nearly 20 years. Jennifer is a local teacher and is happy to pass on her knowledge to her young (and young at heart) charges each week.

John Andrews – Treasurer:  very much a key part of our society and one of the longest serving members. He ensures we are on track to achieving our short and long term goals. John has been an integral part of setting up the bursaries and the ongoing operations of the Noons Creek Hatchery.

Elaine Golds – Secretary: has an outstanding depth of knowledge of the local surroundings and is very happy to share this with our volunteers and members of the public. She has been a vocal and active member of the Port Moody Ecological Society since the beginning and we have been blessed to have her continue as a member of the board.  Elaine writes a bi-weekly nature and environmental column in the Tri-City News. She is also a member of several other high-profile environmentally based organizations, often serving in Director positions.  A very well respected member of the Provincial environmental landscape and is often sought out for commentary on topical issues.

As of our 2016 Annual General Meeting on Feb 17th, the position of Hatchery Operations Manager is unfilled.  We are seeking to fill this position as soon as possible. In the interim, the day-to-day management of hatchery operations goes on with our fantastic core volunteer members stepping up to cover the void. Basic duties include fry and egg management, ensuring the hatchery’s fish management infrastructure and systems are operational and in good order, plus supervising and training our younger volunteers.

Directors-At-Large

Jim Mattson – has been a volunteer with the hatchery for many years. A retired teacher, he has held board positions with the Society and preceded Jennifer as head ‘Lab Rat’. In his time as Lab Manager, he oversaw the replacement of the Ioco Road bridge above the hatchery and helped ensure that the work disrupted the creek riparian environment as little as possible and that sufficient water flows were maintained. He is still very active with the Society and is a mentor to many.

Bryan Robinson – is a Hydrogeologist and licensed as a Professional Geoscientist in BC (P.Geo.). He has over 20 years of working experience in the management and protection of surface and groundwater and in environmental assessments. Bryan has worked as a consultant, environmental regulator, research scientist, and water resource manager in Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Cuba, Ghana, Peru, UK and USA.  He has managed environmental consulting and water monitoring technology companies and is the founder and owner of a groundwater hydrology consulting company, which is based in Port Moody but provides services worldwide. Bryan is currently working for the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations as the Head of Surface Water for the South Coast Region.

Volunteers

In addition to the Board members, other volunteers play a key role in the success of our Noons Creek Hatchery, including water quality testing, hatchery management, help with the Fingerling Festival, amongst other things.  Our volunteers come from all over the world including Australia, Russia, Korea, Japan and China.  We love our volunteers!

We believe that recognition is key to retaining our volunteers and ensuring a happy environment throughout the year.  We recognise our volunteers in a variety of ways including our bursaries, pancake breakfasts, National Volunteer Week activities, and invitations to events organized especially for our regular volunteers.

Lifetime Members

We are very proud to recognise and celebrate our lifetime members:

 

·        Bill Nicol ·        Brian and Margaret Waite
·        Brian Wormald ·        Brooke Marshall
·        Cliff Gilfillan ·        Dave Bennie
·        Dave Caan ·        Donna Otto and David Spence
·        Dr. Jutta Haunerland ·        Elaine Golds
·        Eric Olsen ·        Harry Burgoyne
·        Heather Washburn ·        Holly Butterfield
·        Jacob Klaver ·        Jane and Trevor O’Neil
·        Jim and Theresa Spurr ·        Jim Mattson
·        Joanne Bartlett ·        John and Helen Andrew
·        John Dunn ·        John Grasty
·        Marg Carr-Hilton ·        Melanie Mattson
·        Mike Bender ·        Nancy Aichberger
·        Rick Simpson ·        Ron Simpson
·        Sandra Niven

Bursaries

Bill Nichols, a long time volunteer and recipient of the Port Moody Civic Award for his environmental work, has collected over 60,000 cans over the past few years and this was used to give bursaries of up to $1,500 each year for eligible regular volunteers which they are using towards their higher education in the environmental field.

We have also been blessed to have recently been gifted a substantial bursary fund from Mr. Richard Weldon Haley’s estate and his explicit direction was that this money should be used to help young volunteer stewards in their school and further education studies.  This matched exactly with the ideas of the Port Moody Ecological Society, so the money has been carefully invested and the annual returns are distributed among appropriate, qualifying Bursary applicants. Find out more about our Bursary program and how you can apply here.

 Fingerling Festival

On the first Saturday of each May, we celebrate the release of the salmon into Noons Creek with a fabulous environmental festival that is visited by over 4,000 people of all ages.  This event is supported primarily by the City of Port Moody; other sponsors have included  Pacific Coast Terminals (PCT), thev3h.com, and Port Metro Vancouver.

It’s our 25th Fingerling Festival Anniversary in 2016!

2016 will be our ‘Silver Anniversary’, so that calls for a very special celebration. As well as the usual Bobs & Lolo putting on concerts for the kids, great food from our fund raising hotdog lunch, adults & kids learning more about our local environment from over 60 exhibitors in the ice hockey rink, plus a wide variety of children’s activities including games, arts and crafts, nature puzzles and more, we are working with the City of Port Moody to make it bigger than ever!!!  We can’t give too many details away at the moment……..just be assured we will be ‘breaking new ground’ (literally!).  Every year it’s a free, educational and fun family day out – and that has always been our aim!!

For a number of years now, the big hit at the Festival is the releasing of approximately 40,000 young chum salmon from the hatchery into Noons Creek for their four year journey in the Pacific Ocean.  Buckets are donated to us and are provided free of charge each year so that all members of our community can get involved.

Exhibitors like World Wildlife Fund, Vancouver Aquarium, Wildlife Rescue, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), B.C. Used Oil Management Association, Sea Shepherds Society are just some of the fascinating groups you can meet and chat with at the Festival.

 Sponsorship Opportunities

We aim to provide an interactive and hands-on experience for the children that come to our festival to help foster their love of the environment and to carry this love throughout their lives and are working hard to increase our fundraising through sponsorship.  Our hope is that they will grow to become adults that are passionate about their surroundings and make decisions in their lives that will make the future brighter and greener for generations to come.

All proceeds go directly to support the Port Moody Ecological Society’s environmental research, education and outreach programmes, to help preserve and protect Noons Creek and to operate their Noons Creek hatchery and water quality testing laboratory.

In 2012, we increased our fundraising efforts by asking businesses to consider different levels of sponsorship.  We recognise that these are difficult times for families and we hope that taking this route we can continue to provide a free event for the Tri-Cities community and to raise funds to continue our volunteer work.

Levels of Sponsorship

Canopy – $1,000

Showcase of environmental efforts with a display or interactive activity

Logo on advertising

Company banner on display at the hatchery and within the Recreation Centre arena

Mention during media press releases and interviews

Listing in PMES newsletter, Facebook, twitter and website

Tree – $500

Showcase of environmental efforts with a display or interactive activity

Company banner on display at the hatchery

Logo on advertising

Listing in PMES newsletter, Facebook, twitter and website

 Branch – $200

Logo on advertising

Listing in PMES newsletter, Facebook, twitter and website

Leaf – $100

Listing in PMES newsletter, Facebook, twitter and website

Constitution

1. The name of the Society is: PORT MOODY ECOLOGICAL SOCIETY

2. The purpose(s) of the Society is (are):

a. To engage in community directed education and information dissemination to foster ecological awareness among all ages.

b. To carry out relevant research consistent with the objectives of the Society.

c. To establish and operate a fisheries / ecological centre and to engage in relevant community programs.

d. To network with other like-minded organizations.

e. To carry out its work in a democratic and open manner to foster citizen participation in all aspects of the Society’s undertakings.

f. On winding up or dissolution of the Society, any remaining assets shall not be distributed among the members. After all debts have been paid or provision for payment has been made, all remaining assets shall be donated to the Port Moody Foundation, or in the event of their predissolution, to the Boy Scouts of Canada. This provision is to be unalterable.

The Bylaws of the Society are those set out in Schedule B to the Society Act:

http://www.bclaws.ca/EPLibraries/bclaws_new/document/ID/freeside/00_96433_01#section40

Education Programmes

We encourage school and community groups to engage with us through volunteering or by undertaking one of the many courses that are offered throughout the year.

A list of our Elementary programme’s are available on our website, noonscreek.org.

Estuary Exploration for Grades 1 to 3 (1.5 hours)

Introduces the student to the Estuary, a place of edges where fresh water meets salt, where plants and animals must live in a habitat which is both wet and dry, salt and fresh, warm and cold. Students learn about food webs and habitat through games and by observation.

(Note: Kindergarten programs are also available by arrangement. Following games and felt board activities introducing aquatic habitats, children will investigate a pond habitat and discover for themselves who is living there.)

Salmon Cycle for Grades 4 and 5 (2 hours)

Noons Creek Hatchery is a teaching hatchery which releases tens of thousands of Chum and Coho fry annually. Students will learn about the life cycle of the salmon both in the hatchery and in our creeks and ocean.

Stream Science for Grades 6 and 7+ (2.5 hours)

Scientists measure the health of a creek in many ways: by its temperature, its pH, by what is dissolved in it whether seen or unseen, and even by what lives in it! Students make these measurements for themselves, and in the process not only learn how to collect data, but discover what makes our urban streams healthy or sick, bountiful or barren. This program can also be adapted to middle and high school students.

Streamkeepers Workshop (1 or 2 days – Weekends)

One or two days, 9:30 am to 2:30 pm

The Pacific Streamkeepers Federation is a Non-Profit Society helping streamkeepers take action through support, education and building partnerships. Working in cooperation with Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Capilano College, the Federation facilitates streamkeepers training.

As a Federation member, Port Moody Ecological Society offers streamkeeper-related training at the Noons Creek Hatchery. Our fully certified trainers currently teach Modules 1-4, 7 and 11 from the FOC Streamkeepers handbook.

Module 1: Introductory Stream Habitat Survey

Module 2: Advanced Stream Habitat Survey

Module 3: Water Quality Survey

Module 4: Stream Invertebrate Survey

Module 7: Streamside Planting

Module 11: Juvenile Fish Trapping and Identification

2-day workshop: $100 per person or $90 if group is larger than 14 participants

1-day workshop: (any two modules): $70 per person or $80 per person if group is larger than 14 participants

 

Tours

Water Sampling Station Tours

These tours provide a marvelous way to discover our area and to learn the reasons for water sampling.

The best part is that the community can participate in the sampling process.  These tours combine an educational experience with the great outdoors.

 General Tours

We offer hatchery tours to groups that wish to learn more about the hatchery, its operations and our place in the local community.

Saturday Programs

Hatchery: hands on experience including feeding the fish, collecting eggs, administration, and whatever other work is required to ensure the smooth operation of the hatchery. Ideal for volunteers, work experience for high school and post secondary students. Open between 9am and 11am, dependent upon weather conditions. Please come down between 9am and 10am for your first visit.

Water Quality Laboratory: collecting water samples from five of the local Port Moody creeks then returning to the hatchery to testing to ensure the water quality is maintained at a high standard. Training is provided. Note that the team leaves at 9:00 am and usually car pool

Egg Takes:  our regular hatchery volunteers are invited to join us for various field trips throughout the year, including the annual egg take at the Alouette River with Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO).

We collect a set quantity of eggs and milt (sperm), agreed upon with the DFO, then return to our Noons Creek hatchery where they are raised in our incubation room.  This is a special activity for many of our volunteers and gives them a skill set many will use during their chosen career such as biologists and veterinarians.

Water Quality Testing

Water quality testing is a key element of our hatchery operations and we invite you to join Jennifer Whitcher, Lab Director, and the team each Saturday morning from 09:00 am to 11:00 am (sometimes later) as they travel to six of the creeks within the Port Moody Arm of the Burrard Inlet to bring the samples back to the lab within the Noons Creek hatchery for testing.

The six creeks in the Port Moody Arm of the Burrard Inlet that we test are: Noons Creek, Schoolhouse South Creek, Schoolhouse North Creek, Slaughterhouse Creek, and Mossom Creek.  We test for turbidity, temperature, ph, oxygen concentration, phosphate contamination, nitrate contamination and ammonia contamination.  In summer, we do a coliform count.  Should the figures ever reach above average, we report it to the proper government authorities.

The Port Moody Ecological Society is proud to have been maintaining these important tests and records for over 20 years.  This information is invaluable for interpretation and understanding of our local waters and is used by local authorities. We are currently looking at digitizing much of this data.  Although a manual process, it will add immense value by us being able to share the statistics via electronic means – e.g. our webpage.  If you would like to assist in this effort, please give us a call on 604-469-9106 or email us on portmoodyecologicalsociety@hotmail.com.

Please contact Jen at portmoodyecologicalsociety@hotmail.com should you have any questions.

Volunteer Opportunities

We really appreciate our volunteers, some of whom come to the hatchery every day and some come along when they can – once a week or once a month. We are there every Saturday from 9.00 am to 11.30 am and welcome everyone to come and say hello and see what we do. We ask volunteers to become a member, for as little as $5 a year.

There are many types of jobs in our hatchery. Listed below are the most prominent ones:

  • Fingerling Festival volunteers
  • Volunteer coordinator/training coordinator
  •  Photographs/35mm slides cataloguing
  • Office administration assistants
  • Assistant newsletters editors/helpers
  • Archivist/librarian
  • Newsletter reporters/helpers
  • Web Developers/maintainers
  • Fish Habitat restoration coordinator
  • Fish Habitat builders
  • Water Quality Data entry assistants
  • Water quality samplers/monitors
  • Communications/marketing/advertising/promotion assistants
  • Community outreach assistants
    • Hatchery helpers
    • Watersheds/streamkeeper coordinator
    • Tour leaders
    • Cleaner-outers and cleaner-uppers
    • Hatchery site maintainers
    • Schools program assistants/understudies
    • Fundraising

The Needs of the Community

The demand in the community is clear and our programmes will continue to grow and develop to meet that demand.  The beauty of our projects is that our programs are already a proven success with demand growing every year.  Part of this is the ability to adapt the programs to the needs and wants of the participants.  We provide these programs to facilitators and participants that meet their needs and promote further success through environmental education.
Our measurements of success look at the social, environmental, education and leadership aspects of our projects, including:

•increased number of visitors to the hatchery each year
•increased number of program participants
•increased number of programs offered

•the number of invasive species removed
•the number of native species planted
•the number of restoration projects completed

Should you have any questions, please drop by the hatchery any time between 9:00 am and 11:00 am, or call Dave Bennie on 604-617-1163 or Brian Wormald on 604-537-3717.

Kind regards,

The Port Moody Ecological Society Board and Volunteers

(Originally compiled by Sandra Niven with the assistance of the Port Moody Ecological Society Board and volunteers – October 2012; updated  February 2016)