What an amazing day! 125 people came together to celebrate the grand opening of the Buck Creek CANFOR hatchery in Houston, BC run by A Rocha’s Upper Bulkley River Streamkeepers.

The 20 foot x 30 foot building is Phase 1 of a larger watershed stewardship centre that will be a hub for conservation, education and restoration in the Upper Bulkley River watershed.

The project is truly a community effort, built on property donated by Canadian Forest Products (CANFOR) with money supplied by the Pacific Salmon Foundation, the Bulkley Valley Credit Union and many other businesses and individuals.

“It is the answer to a 24 year old prayer,” says Cindy Verbeek, A Rocha Canada’s Bulkley Valley Coordinator in Houston, BC.

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A New Hatchery

Adding on to the lab, office and facilities at the new hatchery, Phase 2 of the project will create opportunities for environmental education and public engagement.
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Cindy Verbeek – Bulkley Valley Coordinator

Cindy envisioned a centre like this after graduating from the King’s University in Edmonton in 1993 and spending a summer at the Au Sable Institute for Environmental Studies in Michigan.

“It has been completely amazing and humbling to see the community of Houston come together to offer their resources of time, money and skills and I can not overstate how humbled and thankful I am to every single person who has contributed to making this dream a reality.”

After speeches by A Rocha Canada staff and representatives from CANFOR, the District of Houston, the Office of the Wetsuwetin, as well as Toboggan Creek fish hatchery, the ribbon was cut and everyone celebrated with burgers, hot dogs, wooden fish painting, an old-fashioned fishing hole and lots of community cheer.

Praising God for His good gifts, the event was closed with this prayer:

Creator God,
You humble us with your generosity.
With the diversity of creatures in this place,
salmon, bears, moose, ladybugs, chickadees and wood frogs.
With the diversity of cultures in this place,
Canadian, American, Wet’suwet’en, Dutch, German, Portuguese, East Indian and African.
With the diversity of people in this place,
stewards of the forests, fields and soil, educators and artists, skilled tradesmen and jacks of all trade.

Sustainer Spirit,
You humble us with your generosity.
With the good gifts of daily bread, sunshine, rain, and harvest – to sustain our bodies,
With the good gifts of community, friendship and family to sustain our spirit.

Redeemer Jesus,
You humble us with your generosity.
With Your sacrifice of love and life, that through your death and resurrection you bring the hope of reconciliation to every person and creature in this watershed so that we may all enjoy and participate in your abundance and generosity.
I thank you now for the generosity of the people in this community, who have come together to turn this dream into a reality. For the sacrifices of time, money and the gifts of skill, hard work and grace.
We pray your blessing on this place – that it might be a place of discovery and wonder and provide opportunities for us to join with You in the healing, health and reconciliation of all who live in this watershed.

Amen.