A private donation has helped the A Rocha Buck Creek Canfor hatchery meet its goal of raising enough money to finish an educational centre expansion.
“We are super excited to be fully funded for this project,” said Cindy Verbeek, A Rocha’s northern coordinator, last week. “We are still moving in to the nature centre portion but we’ve had many visitors come for a sneak peak and everyone has been very positive.”
The $15,000 donation has enabled the coho hatchery to complete the inside of the expansion, including installing a bathroom.
“Once the ground thaws we will build the decks and finish the landscaping,” Verbeek added.
The goal is to have an official opening in time for Earth Day, April 22.
The coho hatchery’s pre-expansion structure was opened in Sept. 2017 on land donated by Canfor, replacing a tent and shed.
Planning then started for an expansion to further develop the hatchery as an education and conservation centre.
An initial concept costing an estimated $300,000 was scaled down to approximately $200,000 and construction began the end of May last year.
The expansion consists of a 30 foot by 30 foot indoor display/activity space and a 20 foot by 30 foot covered outdoor display/activity space.
A Rocha was able to tap into a wide range of community responses in terms of local fundraising, donations and in-kind donations to help meet its goal.
It was also successful in applying for grants from organizations outside the area, including one which means it can install solar panels to supply some of the power needed at the hatchery.
A Rocha as an international organization which first took root in Portugal — the name means “the rock” in Portuguese and has been working in Houston since 2003 through Upper Bulkley River Streamkeepers.
It’s based on Christian values relating to the environment and conservation and in Houston, projects have included recycling, a community market and a food garden as well as making presentations and undertaking initiatives with schools and churches in the area.