Project Description

Boy looking through small magnifying glass

Alex is in the middle of a habitat exploration, seeing how different creatures survive and build shelters using sticks, moss, needles, and cones.

Message from the CEO

Greetings earthkeepers,

You journeyed with A Rocha through a good and tragic year.

It was good because of the diverse and rich Creation care work done across Canada for people and places. You protected and supported 350,000 ha of land and over 12 species at risk. Salish Suckers, Barn Swallows, Yellow-banded bumble bees, Western Toads, and Northern Red-legged Frogs. You trained over 6,500 kids, young people and adults. It all happens through teaching and hands-on experiences in forests, on the farm and in the river. You nourished and inspired over 1000 people in need. These people find belonging through shared meals and accessible environmental education. The stories below give you a brief glimpse into how you’ve made a difference.

It was a tragic year because we lost dear friends in a tragic car accident. This impact report also acknowledges the pain, loss and heart-ache that so many of us feel. God’s loving embrace holds us together, and now more than ever, we cling to this love, for the sake of God’s world.

Thank you for caring for A Rocha through your prayers, words and gifts this year. We love and miss you Chris, Suzanna and Miranda.

For 20 years, the “5C’s” have been A Rocha Canada’s glue. These five commitments are: Conservation, Christian, Cross-cultural, Cooperation and Community. Yes, Chris Naylor and Miranda Harris played an essential role in holding A Rocha together. Their legacy is how we live out these 5C’s. These commitments continue to draw people into a unique way of offering hope, love and action. Our friends Loren & Mary-Ruth Wilkinson remind us of this vocation they termed “earthkeeping.”

Here’s to the next two decades of earthkeeping together!

Sincerely yours,

Luke Wilson, CEO

Message from the Board Chair

Thank you, Luke, for giving me this opportunity to greet the A Rocha constituency on behalf of the A Rocha Canada Board. This past year has given me the joy of working together with a very dedicated Board team and with Luke in his first year as our CEO.

What a delight it is to read about A Rocha’s impact throughout 2019! We are, indeed, learning what it means to be earthkeepers, at times in sure leaps forward and at other times moving tentatively and experimentally. Truly we have much to learn and much to share.

Greetings to you all on behalf of your A Rocha Canada Board: Antoinette van Kuik (Chair), Tamar Koleba, Ledford Lilley (Treasurer), Sandra Manning, Ken Marr, Karen Reed and Barb Wernick.

Gratefully,

Antoinette van Kuik

Your Impact This Year

1000 people with disabilities learning about Creation

12 species-at-risk studied and protected

30 young adults choosing to reorder their values and lives

1600 children experiencing the wonder and love of God’s handiwork

4500 meals for Creation care conversations

An Act of Human Nature

There’s nothing like tired muscles, bellies full of good food and a crackling fire to inspire deep conversation. Especially if those around the fire are a group of thoughtful young adults, closing out three-days of hands-on conservation and learning at A Rocha’s Cedar Haven Eco-Centre near Hamilton, ON. The conversation circled around the idea of sacrifice and how humans have the distinction amongst all earth’s creatures of being able to forego their own desires for the benefit of another species.

This thought gave some context to the scrapes and bruises, dirty hands and sore muscles sustained from the experience of identifying plants, pulling up invasives and planting trees. Considering a new relationship with creation was stretching, but it offered these recent grads freedom to explore further. The license to think outside the box sparked a number of musings:

“Does God care about every single blade of grass? Am I personally responsible for the wellbeing of the earth?”

It was inspiring to see their brains at work!

This fire-side chat showcases A Rocha’s education efforts at their best —  offering immersive experiences that bridge the gap between people and nature to create a more holistic view of the world: one where care for the earth is not a response to human guilt, but an act of human nature.

Education Mission

A Rocha invites children and adults into transformational encounters with creation, knowing that first-hand experience of the natural world elicits wonder, and wonder leads to caring. These encounters include summer day-camps for kids and gardening & nutrition programs for seniors, youth, newcomers & others with barriers to getting out in creation. We also host field trips for school children and internship programs for young adults.

We are grateful for funding from TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, United Way of the Lower Mainland and the Ontario Trillium Foundation.  These partnerships enable participation in education programs like Operation Wild and Farm to Families for people who lack access to creation and community.

Check out the education pages on our website to book a field trip for the young’uns or a workshop or nature excursion for the more mature: arocha.ca/education.

Loving Frogs in Need

A Rocha’s Frog Squad of scientists and interns prepare for protecting the Northern Red-legged Frog at Brooksdale.

The word ecology comes from the Greek word oikos, meaning household. A Rocha takes a  “household” view when it comes to our conservation work. Resisting the lure of trendy funding cycles that would have us shifting our conservation focus to the latest “species du jour”, we are committed to particular places and the creatures therein for the long haul. We pay attention to the most vulnerable members of the household (scientifically known as the Species at Risk) regardless of their seeming insignificance (thus we study threatened snails and amphibians as well as the more alluring swallows and trout), knowing that each species is valued by God and plays its own unique role in the home.

One such species that has held our sustained attention is the Northern Red-legged Frog.  We began our work with this humble but very hoppy amphibian way back in 2009, surveying for egg masses in ponds and wetlands throughout the Little Campbell River watershed. The surveys showed that Northern Red-legged Frog is threatened by disease, habitat loss and fragmentation resulting from human activity and development, as well as competition and predation by introduced species like the nefarious American Bullfrog. The surveying and studying has continued to this day (Abney et al. 2016) thanks to committed A Rocha staff and a steady flow of interns. The result is an impressive and growing data set that allows A Rocha and policy makers better understand the vulnerabilities of this species, which in turn can and inform management actions.

Project partners include: Environment Canada Habitat Stewardship Program, Trinity Western University

Conservation Mission

Working from a watershed perspective with an eye to the thriving of human as well as non-human with local landowners, municipalities and other stewardship groups to carry out conservation science research and habitat restoration projects in BC, Manitoba and Ontario. Thank you especially to the Environment Canada Habitat Stewardship Program and Trinity Western University.

Visit our conservation page to learn about species studies and habitat restoration projects in BC, Manitoba and Ontario

Responding with Hope

Dave and Mark at the first Gathered Voices event in Winnipeg

The environmental crisis can feel overwhelming and even paralyzing. A Rocha’s work in Manitoba is bringing hope and mobilization as we equip churches and their members to respond to the biblical mandate of creation care, particularly in this era of ecological suffering.

One such faith community is Grace Bible Church in Winnipeg. A Rocha’s Manitoba Director, Scott Gerbrandt, has acted as a coach and workshop leader for this congregation as they strive to become faithful Earth Keepers in their own neighbourhoods.

Here’s what Wilma Wiens, Minister of Pastoral & Spiritual Care, had to say about the help her church has received from A Rocha:

“During one particular A Rocha workshop, Scott facilitated small and large group conversations in which we were able to identify the two biggest roadblocks keeping us from further engagement in caring for creation. We were then given respectful space to decide how best we might respond to these roadblocks such that we could own our action steps and feel empowered in doing so. Scott’s enthusiasm and commitment to environmental stewardship are contagious. He takes an often guilt-laden issue and makes it invitational and fun while grounding it in sound biblical teaching. It was a fruitful, affirming event for us.”  

-Wilma Wiens, Minister of Pastoral & Spiritual Care for Grace Bible Church

Sustainable Agriculture Mission

A Rocha’s agriculture projects are good for the land and good for those who eat from it. We are connecting people directly to the land and to their farmers through endeavours like our Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) program in BC.

Love Your Place

David & Shauna Anderson,                                 Brooksdale Co-Directors

British Columbia

A Rocha’s Brooksdale Environmental Centre and Houston Fish Hatchery inspired people to care for local species and people.

  • Over 2000 children and adults experienced Creation in forests, rivers and fields.
  • The Houston Fish Hatchery raised over 8,000 salmon (Coho and Chinook).
  • 9 scientific reports on the health of the local plant and animal species.
  • Hazelmere Intern House renovations completed for 18 interns and staff accommodation.
  • A Rocha’s Farm (Sustainable Agriculture program) received the City of Surrey 2019 Agriculture Award.

Scott Gerbrandt, Manitoba Director

Manitoba

A Rocha Manitoba is mobilizing new friends to care for creation.

  • An EcoChurch survey opened doors to dialogue around environmental issues and hope.
  • Staff hosted 2 weeks of day camps to inspire young naturalists.
  • Scientists from Kansas State University visited East Braintree. They catalogued research of 15 small mammals. It is now available in the Museum of Southwestern Biology at the University of New Mexico.
  • The municipality of Reynolds is reviewing site plans for the Boreal Ecology Centre. We hope shovels are in the ground this year.

Watch this new video to see their work.

Amila Dreise, Interim Ontario Director

Ontario

A Rocha Ontario had a season of leadership transition and program growth.

  • Operation Wild, our conservation and environmental education program reached 200 new people with varying cognitive and physical abilities.
  • Thanks to some great partners, Cedar Haven now has a working office trailer, observation decks for birdwatching, benches for rest stops for people with mobility challenges.
  • Staff applied for 3 new grants to close the financial gap ($6,000 deficit) from fiscal year end April 30, 2019.

Looking ahead, we hope for financial stability so that people and places would flourish.

From Generosity to Impact

Thank you to all our partners.

Thank you to our dedicated Board of Directors.

A Rocha Canada Revenue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Rocha Canada Expenditures

 

We are heartily grateful for the public, government and private funders and foundations that have supported our projects this past year. And we are equally grateful to the individual donors spread across Canada who live out an ethic of creation care in their lives and their giving to A Rocha. Thank you!

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Impact Creation in 2020

  1. PROTECT: Protect one of our 12 species at risk by “Sponsoring a species”. You can do this by giving $34/month.
  2. TRAIN: Inspire people of faith to get involved in creation care in their local communities. We are asking for gifts of $5000 to grow this program area of A Rocha Canada.
  3. INVEST: This year we are making new space for hosting and teaching more children and young adults. You can give towards capital projects. Email us to find out more.
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Accountability

A Rocha Canada is a certified charity with the Canadian Council of Christian Charities. Information about our annual reports, giving policies and financial accountability can be found here.

Click here to view A Rocha Canada’s certification with the Canadian Council of Christian Charities. Learn more about the Seal of Accountability and Standards of Accountability.

For a personal conversation, feel free to contact Audrey Epp, National Development Coordinator at 604.542.9022 or through the Donor Services form.