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Gulf Island nature centre for city kids hits fundraising halfway mark

A Gulf Island land conservancy has raised more than half the funds needed to purchase land for a unique long-stay, nature-study centre on Galiano Island.

The centre, a project of the Galiano Conservancy Association, will allow city kids from the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island to connect with nature through multi-day learning programs.

"We already have two million dollars in matching funds committed from the National Areas Conservation Program, contingent on our raising another two million," conservancy coordinator Ken Millard said. "We are making progress on raising our half of the purchase price, and we now need to raise the final $1.3 million."

While the conservancy has run day programs for more than 28,000 people for the last 10 years, Millar said, "With a permanent learning centre, we'll be able to run longer programs, year round, for more youth," he added.

"This is really a dream property for multi-day programs, complete with amenities such as a working farm, a stream, and a cove suitable for launching kayaks."

Millard, who describes himself as a "retired physicist and luthier," said he's deeply concerned about the phenomenon of "Nature Deficit Disorder" among the next generation.

The proposed purchase of the two plots of land on the southwest shore of Galiano Island, Millard said, combined with existing parks, reserves and Crown Land, will add up to 1,250 acres of protected land.

Millard said in an earlier interview that hopes for a successful funding drive were buoyed when the owner of the land extended the time limit on their option to buy into June.

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