About Us

About Us

The Wild Bird Trust of British Columbia (WBT)'s mandate is:

"Dedicated to the protection of wild birds and their habitat, on the principle that all wildlife must benefit."

The WBT is a non-profit society that manages the Conservation Area at Maplewood Flats in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. This waterfront ecosystem is approximately 75 acres in size, bounded on the north by Dollarton Highway, on the east by Tsleil-Waututh First Nations Land, on the south by Burrard Inlet, and on the west by industrial property. 

For several decades this waterfront wetland had been a subject of interest to preserve as a sanctuary. In 1989, the District of North Vancouver (DNV) Council officially created a conservation area at Maplewood Flats. In 1992, the land was leased by the Vancouver Port Authority (now PortMetroVancouver) to Environment Canada to operate as a wildlife conservation area. In 1993, WBT Wild Bird Trust of British Columbia was engaged as the Operator by the land-owner groups (PMVand DNV) to manage and develop the property with its wetlands and tidal marshes as the North Shore’s first wildlife sanctuary.

A variety of habitats exist on the site including:


  • Salt marsh and intertidal flats
  • Deep saltwater basin
  • Fresh water marsh and ponds
  • Open rough meadow
  • Cottonwood forest
  • A shrub zone including brambles, red alder, mountain ash and pacific crabapple
  • A small freshwater/brackish area called Park Street Marsh.

The WBT is incorporated as a non-profit Society under the Provincial Societies’ Act #S-31197 and is a charitable organization under the federal “Income Tax Act” Charity #14026 5570 RR0001. 

The WBT has two Patrons:
  • Honourable John A. Fraser P.C., O.C., O.B.C., Q.C., LL.D (Hon.)
  • Robert Bateman, O.C., O.B.C., Artist and Naturalist

There are two paid WBT Staff members:

  • Ernie Kennedy, Site Manager
  • Elsie M. Webb, Membership Secretary

Many WBT volunteers and members offer their services. 

2016-2017 WBT Board of Directors

Elected in November 2016:

  • Kevin Bell
  • Jude Grass (Vice President)
  • Eric Greenwood (Treasurer)
  • Angela Hansen
  • Robyn Hanson 
  • Paul Hundal
  • Irwin Oostindie (President)
  • Carleen Thomas (Secretary)
  • Janice Wilson 

WBT operates the site under an Operator’s License from Environment Canada and a Management Agreement with The District of North Vancouver. 

Successful negotiation for long-term tenure until March 31st 2041 to match Site Manager Environment Canada`s MOU has been achieved. 

Wild Bird Trust signed formal documents with Environment Canada/PortMetroVancouver on September 5th 2012 and with District of North Vancouver on August 25th 2014.

After countless hours of restoration and enhancement the area is now regarded as a “living classroom.” Approximately 33,000 visitors enjoy free admission to the site per year.

The bird species list has risen from 208 in 1993 to 249 species/sub-species by 2016 and includes migratory species such as Osprey and the blue-listed Purple Martin from Brazil, red-listed White Pelican etc.  

Several valuable conservation projects have been undertaken by WBT at the site.


In the past, the Trust has also assisted with or solely developed properties on Salt Spring Island, Galliano Island, Vancouver Island, Surrey and Langley.


The Trust publishes its magazine Wingspan twice a year, and maintains a variety of social media sites (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook).


The Conservation Area comprises a 96 hectare intertidal area composed of mudflats and salt marsh, a 30 hectare upland area includes deciduous and mixed forest, rough grassland and freshwater marsh habitats.


Since it began work at the site Wild Bird Trust has fundraised for and installed improvements:

  • Over 3 kilometers of wheelchair accessible trails with memorial/resting benches
  • An installed wetland with well and pump house
  • A Meet and Greet Office/washroom at the head of Osprey Point Trail
  • A Bird Sightings Board which is updated every week
  • Westcoast Bridge which spans the Barge Channel
  • Covered Work Area with picnic benches
  • Viewing Platform overlooking West Pond
  • A major all-year Bird Feeding Station with trail-side viewing areas
  • Native Plant Nursery
  • Teaching Water Conservation Project - water collection system to harvest winter rain
  • Corrigan Nature House          

Carefully managed habitats attract a diversity of wildlife which includes Northern River Otter, Beaver, Coyote, Bobcat and larger mammals such as Black Bear, Coastal Black-tailed Deer and the very occasional Mountain Lion.


Described by the community as “the green gem”, the Conservation Area attracts over 33,000 visitors annually and is regarded by WBT as its flagship sanctuary.   It is well used by all ages from young families to seniors who appreciate the well groomed, level trail system with its absence of bicycles and off-leash dogs. 


Under the terms of the Management Agreements WBT is not permitted to charge admission to the site.  Educational programs and special events to celebrate the success of the site have been developed by WBT and are offered free of charge. Membership and the community support WBT with volunteers who assist with vegetation control and office duties.


WBT has operated The Conservation Area since 1994 from its “Meet and Greet” Site Office with one non-wheelchair accessible washroom.  The Meet and Greet is staffed by a rotation of 30 trained WBT Volunteer Receptionists. 


Having enhanced and restored a “living classroom” at The Conservation Area at Maplewood Flats, Wild Bird Trust has responded to the increasing demand for educational nature tours and presentations from schools and other groups by building Corrigan Nature House. 


An agreement was signed between WBT and Norbury Foundation on July 8th 2009. The Norbury Foundation, representing the late Doris and Jack Corrigan, provided a matching donation of up to $250,000 for the construction of Corrigan Nature House plus an additional pledge of $25,000 Nature House Operating Funds per year for five years (for a total of $375,000). 


Corrigan Nature House was designed with non-fixed seating and it represents a very flexible space – useful for classroom situations, workshops, exhibitions and meetings.


The building will eventually house displays and educational material where visitors of all ages can learn more about what they have seen.


In addition to offering school tours and programs the Corrigan Nature House is used for the Trust’s business meetings, the Annual General Meeting, membership and community events. It also houses the WBT`s Membership Office. It is intended that the modest post and beam structure with gender-specific wheelchair accessible washrooms be seen as a model for conservation and economy of construction within achievable financial limits.


A permanent Donors’ Wall to recognize our supporters is under construction. 


The Corrigan Nature House was built to last at least 40 years which would exceed the period of tenure (2041).


On a beautiful, sunny day surrounded by birdsong, happy faces and dignitaries from Environment Canada, PortMetroVancouver, District of North Vancouver, MLA Jane Thornthwaite, donors and members, the Trust broke ground for the Corrigan Nature House on July 31st 2013 and completed the project October 2014. 


On March 1st 2015 Corrigan Nature House was dedicated. Once again, dignitaries from Environment Canada, the District of North Vancouver. Norbury Foundation, donors and members gathered to celebrate this happy occasion. Eighty eight attendees crowded into the Great Room to rejoice, unveil the large bronze plaque – and eat cake! 


PortMetroVancouver sent dedication wishes in the form of a speech which was read by WBT President Patricia M. Banning-Lover.


Under the terms of the PMV and DNV Management Agreements WBT is allowed to rent out Corrigan Nature House to generate General Operating Costs which support the operation of the entire site. In exchange for this privilege and to provide a necessary comfort level PMV insists on a few governing guidelines: that bookings flow through the Executive Office, no smoking, no drinking, no gambling, no weddings. 


Wild Bird Trust Conservation Programs:

WBT’s Purple Martin Nest Box Monitoring Program:


In 2006, under WBT’s stewardship the site became the leading breeding colony for the migratory blue-listed Purple Martin.  This program supports a destination refuge/nesting opportunity for this amazing bird which flies all the way from Brazil to nest in boxes which WBT supplies. The birds arrive in May, nest and raise their young at The Conservation Area. In late August early September adults and young fly back to their wintering grounds in Brazil – only to repeat the whole cycle the next year.  WBT places the boxes in the spring well before the colony arrives removing, cleaning and storing the boxes after the colony leaves. Much emphasis is placed in examining nest contents in the boxes and any retrieved parasites are sent away for identification.


This ensures the best protection possible for the young birds who otherwise would suffer from blood-sucking parasites so reducing their survival rate. Colony monitoring is carried out by a foot patrol of trained and experienced WBT Volunteer Observers who survey the colony at low tide collecting data which is later analyzed by Program Coordinator June Ryder and published in our magazine WINGSPAN and also presented at our Annual General Meeting. 


WBT Anise Swallowtail Butterfly Restoration Project:   


One of British Columbia’s most spectacular butterflies – the Anise Swallowtail Butterfly – was eliminated from Burrard Inlet as the tidal salt marsh was reduced to about 5% of its original extent in the last century.  By reintroducing cow parsnip (Heracleum lanatum) and wild celery (Angelica lucida) in two areas (Park Street Marsh/salt water marsh and adjacent to the mudflats) we are slowly reaching a critical mass of foodplant which will support this butterfly. 


Dependant on availability an annual introduction of Anise Swallowtail caterpillars takes place in July. WBT Co-Founder Dr. Richard C. Beard is the Program Manager for this conservation project.


The project involves:

  • Collection of cow parsnip and wild celery seedheads, distribution of seed and germination of plants at WBTs Native Plant Nursery. 
  • Collection of caterpillars for annual release. 
  • Documentation and habitat management.

WBT Killdeer nesting habitat:      


Nesting Habitat for Killdeer was established in 2008 on a 15,000 sq.ft area near the western boundary of the property.  Fall 2016 plans include installation of additional sheltering logs to protect vulnerable chicks.


Dragonflies and Damselflies:         


The site is also now well known for dragonflies and damselflies with 21 species recorded including the blue-listed Autumn Meadowhawk and the Blue Dasher.


On November 5th 2007, after a decade long struggle, the Trust was successful in permanently protecting the Park Street Marsh Area on the western boundary of The Conservation Area. This tiny freshwater marsh hosts upwards of five hundred wintering waterfowl. Red-listedWhite Pelican on their migration to Stum Lake use this area to rest and refuel. This valuable intertidal area of true sanctuary includes the premier example of salt marsh in Burrard Inlet; and is also a nursery for our resident population of Coastal Black-tailed Deer.


The mudflat system to the east of the property represents the largest fragment of a mudflat system which once stretched as far as the First Narrows Bridge (Lions Gate Bridge).


The occasional Black Bear can be seen feasting on Himalayan Blackberry fruit in August and September.

The Trust has developed a regular monthly event schedule of bird surveys, naturalist-guided nature walks and volunteer days.


Special events include an annual Dawn Chorus in May, an annual mid-summer “Return of the Osprey” Festival to celebrate the return of the migratory Osprey and migratory Purple Martin to their nesting pilings adjacent to Osprey Point, and an annual “BIG SIT” Day.  Summer evening guided naturalist walks occur in July.  Members’ Only guided-naturalist walks are offered in Spring and Fall.



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