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Nature / Environmental Conservation & Protection > Voices for the Islands

A Canadian Author Canadian Read

Voices for the Islands: Thirty Years of Nature Conservation on the Salish Sea

By Sheila Harrington, Briony Penn

Where to buy

Publish Date

July 09, 2024


Nature / Ecology
Social Science / Activism & Social Justice



A fascinating compendium of stories chronicling the creation of local nature conservancies, and the people behind them, on seventeen islands on the Salish Sea from the 1990s to the present day.

Voices for the Islands brings together the stories and experiences of those who rose to protect areas at risk within their island communities. Narratively linked by author Sheila Harrington’s three-year sailing journey among the islands to interview more than fifty veteran conservationists, the book shares an in-depth view of local protests and the history and evolution of local conservancies from their timely emergence through legal battles and successful partnerships. It highlights how local, provincial, and national support was won, through the collaborative efforts of dedicated locals, resulting in hundreds of new protected areas and parks within one of the most at-risk ecological communities in Canada—the islands of the Salish Sea.

Beginning in the 1980s, when logging and development threatened the fragile ecosystems and natural habitats, and culminating in the creation of more than seventeen local conservancies and the Gulf Island National Park Reserve, Voices for the Islands will inspire readers to turn apathy into action and support the cause of conservation and reconciliation in an era of species extinction and climate change. Full of colour photos, maps, and fascinating first-hand stories by unsung heroes of conservation—many of whom are now elders—this book reveals how local people and grassroots movements have the power to transform the future of our precious planet.

ISBN: 9781772034929
Format: Paperback
Pages: 288
Publisher: Heritage House
Published: July 09, 2024

"Fruitful efforts to save Earth and its creatures begin with individuals, Harrington illustrates . . . Raising awareness to increase the natural connections between people and their land, Voices for the Islands is an educational text."

—Foreword Reviews "When the right author, a person with immense credibility, takes on a communal history project like this, the resulting book resonates with a great many other readers, no matter where they might live in BC or far beyond our Canadian border . . . In a nutshell, [Voices for the Islands] is an inspiring account of democracy and decentralization in action."

—BC BookWorld, reviewed by Caroline Woodward“In Voices for the Islands, Sheila Harrington chronicles the legacy of the many dedicated, local activists who worked for over fifty years to build the land trusts, conservancies, and precious wild sanctuaries that now safeguard the very soul of BC’s Gulf Islands. She documents what these nature heroes did against daunting odds, employing land covenants, scientific research, innovative fund-raising, and effective advocacy, to save nature from development. As such, she also provides a how-to guide. This is an impressive, engaging book. I highly recommend it. If you care about passing nature onward, Voices for the Islands is a must-read that I suspect may inspire you too to join the action.”

—Ric Careless OBC, founding member of the Sierra Club of BC and BC Parks Foundation “As a sailor, I have had the privilege of visiting every one of the islands in this book and hiked many trails in the parks and protected areas. Each Gulf Island holds a distinct beauty where orange Arbutus trees reach for the sun off rocky cliffs while towering Douglas fir support Bald Eagles in their treetop nests. Orca, humpback whales and seals wander the deep waters. It is a delight to follow in the wake of fellow sailor Sheila Harrington as she meets the people and organizations that have fought tirelessly to preserve these unique ecosystems for future generations to enjoy.”

—Bob McDonald OC, author, journalist, and host of CBC’s Quirks & Quarks “At last, a Good New Story. This book details the ongoing successful battles to preserve the natural spaces on the treasured Islands of the Salish Sea. Engagingly written, part chronology, part inspiration and part guide for the future. It details the battles and sacrifices of the many dedicated crusaders for Mother Gaia.”