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July eNewsletter


  • Membership update - 2021 fees waived
  • Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities
  • Highlights from June - Bat Count Updates + iNaturalist Snap & Share
  • TMX Update
  • A Fond Farewell to Don Gillespie - by Elaine Golds

Membership update & 2021 AGM

On June 12, CFPA held our second online AGM. Looking back on the last year, we managed to accomplish a lot despite pandemic restrictions. We started a citizen science wetland monitoring and stewardship program along the Sheep Paddocks trail with support from the George Ross grant, participated in a collaborative iNaturalist project with other Park Associations, took on bat monitoring at the park, and and initiated a petition and supported protests against the TMX use of the park as a pipeline staging area.

We elected our board of directors for 2021: Jane Thomsing (Chair), Jim Atkinson (Treasurer), Elaine Golds (Members at Large), Seth Bennett (Member at Large), Geordie Howe (Community Gardens Society Liaison).

Thank you to all of our members and friends for your contributions and support. We look forward to continuing these projects in the coming year, as well as a gradual return to our normal programming.

At the AGM, the board and members acknowledged the potential impacts of the pandemic on people’s well-being on many levels. This, combined with the limited ability to collect membership fees in-person, led to a motion to waive membership fees for individuals ($10) and families ($15) this year if any are finding it too difficult to arrange payment. Group memberships ($15) are still required. For those who are able, membership fees can be paid by mail.

If you would like to support CFPA financially apart from membership fees, you can contribute to our donation page through through the Pacific Parklands Foundation.

To join or renew your membership this year, please fill out this form.

Contact us at with any questions or for further instructions for mailing a cheque.
Photo: Oliver McTavish-Wisden

Volunteer opportunities

Here is the the sign up sheet for upcoming volunteer opportunities in July and August.

To join in, put your name down for a time slot.

Sundays, 9am-11am - invasive species / vegetation removal at the new Sheep Paddocks Wetlands
(get in touch about additional weekday slots on Monday or Tuesday).

Saturday July 24 -
Bird Count (7am-8:30am)
Water Quality Monitoring (8:30am-10am)

June update

Bat counts

Last month, we completed our June bat counts, and found ~617 bats on June 9 and ~675 on June 16. We had multiple people counting the busier boxes and averaged our numbers for a better estimate - interestingly, after nearly all emerging from box A during our May training session, they moved over to box C. These counts represent the bats using the maternity roost before pups were born - we will be out again later in July to check on numbers when pups are flying.

We were concerned about the welfare of the bats during the recent heatwave, but Metro Vancouver staff were able to install a shade structure over the boxes. We checked in frequently, and did not see any mass mortality.

iNaturalist: Regional Parks Snap & Share Final Tally

On June 13, we wrapped up the Regional Parks Snap & Share event with a total of 6323 observations of 10238 species by 364 observers over the course of a month.

Compared to the same time frame last year, that’s an extra +3254 observations of +346 species by
and +103 observers.

One of our prize winners - for highest number of species - reported that as well as getting her hooked on the app, the challenge got her to go out to 12 Regional Parks that she hadn’t explored before (with plans to visit the remainder in future).

You can contribute to the Colony Farm Project any time throughout the year, just by posting your photos taken at the park. It’s a great way to learn about nature and contribute to our knowledge of biodiversity in the park. For more instructions, see our website - 

TMX Update

As far as we know, Transmountain continues to spread geotextile over cut vegetation. In June, gravel trucks were onsite to deliver material to geotextile laid overtop of the brushed area. Normally this area would be frequented by members of the public looking for wildlife viewing opportunities, but this area continues and will continue to be a TMX construction site for the foreseeable future.

Some groups are coming together to protest the TMX pipeline on Thursday July 15th from 3-5pm in front of MP Ron McKinnons office. Participation is encouraged and more details can be found here.

A Fond Farewell to Don Gillespie
Written by Elaine Golds

We are so very sad to announce the passing of Don Gillespie at the grand age of 90.  Don had been a wonderful, very important volunteer and one of our hardest-working Board members ever since we decided to form a Colony Farm Park Association (date?).  For much of that time, he served with his wife Norma on our Board.  Don and Norma were especially keen to see the bunkhouse preserved as a heritage building at Colony Farm.  They felt this building has great potential with its small bunkrooms - one of which could serve as a museum and, through photographs, inform people of Colony Farm's significant history.  They felt there would be sufficient room at the rear of the bunkhouse to host meetings with up to about 30 people.  They suggested the former kitchen (at the front of the building) could be a useful place for the community gardeners to test new recipes using produce grown locally in the community gardens.  Of course, there was always a concern about the bats in the attic.  But Don felt that the bats offered great potential to help people understand the importance of the role played by bats and their contributions to our local ecology.

Don really knew his history and remembered especially well the early days of Colony Farm.  We all learned a great deal from him.  Don had a truly friendly way of engaging with people and sharing his stories of Colony Farm with them.  I soon learned that there was nothing better than going on "a walk and a talk" with Don.  I always came away from these walks with a far better understanding of local history and why a place was so special after one of those walks with Don.

Don was a terrific volunteer - he liked nothing better than getting people excited about the potential for  an interesting and often neglected area, like the old Colony Farm to become a new regional park. Don was one of the early proponents who wanted to see the Farm protected.  There was absolutely nothing that could prick up Don's ears, bring a big smile to his face, and ramp up his enthusiasm like that simple four letter word,"Park".  Don was always full of excellent ideas on how to get other people to appreciate his new "park" concept.  His enthusiasm for "Parks" was absolutely contagious.  He soon learned how to get people to write letters to politicians supporting the odd new park here, there and almost everywhere.  When he learned the Burke Mountain Naturalists were discussing the potential to create a new Park on Burke Mtn. he spent all of one entire summer working with his friend, Doug Bennie to brush out overgrown logging roads.  By summers' end, they had created a fantastic trail network that took people to beautiful wetlands, led them out of the forest to stunning vistas and through magnificent stands of old growth trees.  One day, it occurred Don, Doug and other BMN members that people would probably enjoy being able to stroll up along the Coquitlam River.  There was only one problem: there was no trail and several streams created barriers.  In a situation like this, i.e., if there were only a few streams that needed to be crossed; you could count on Don to find someone who had some old lumber to donate that would just be perfect for building  several small footbridges. 

The trail that Don and a few BMN members developed along the Coquitlam River quickly became so wildly popular that it took years for Metro Vancouver Parks to finally shut it down. It was truly a perfect project for Park lovers. Don had a knack for knowing what people would enjoy in terms of new trails and, once built, word would get out and VERY soon, others would discover what had been created for their pleasure and enjoyment.  Don also excelled at getting people to write letters to politicians to ask for more parks. By 1995 Pinecone Burke Park was declared as a new Provincial Park and Colony Farm became a new Regional Park.  The trail network on Burke Mtn. was essentially created by Don. It’s true that he had the help of many very capable and hardworking BMN members - but please remember that if you have ever hiked on Burke Mtn.  you are likely walking on a trail created by Don and that you are, literally, walking in Don's footsteps. Don's contributions to this community are truly immense and he has left a huge legacy for everyone in this community to enjoy.  Just one more thing, there is something else Don would like you to know:  you should never doubt for even a millisecond that one person is not enough to make a difference.
For the latest on our activities you can also follow us on social media @colonyfarmparkassociation (on Facebook and Instagram). If you want to pass along the link, anyone can subscribe to the eNewsletter here - 

Email if you have stories or photos to share with CFPA. You could be featured in a future newsletter!

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Colony Farm Park Association · 1008 Corona Cres · Coquitlam, BC V3J 6Y9 · Canada

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