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Movement protecting Vienna Woods pine forest gains momentum

Fledgling Owls provide proof of nesting in Vienna Woods south of downtown Grand Forks. — Submitted photos

A movement is gaining momentum among Grand Forks youth to protect and preserve the Vienna Woods pine forest.

Joanie Koch-Kalanj, a long-time school teacher in Burnaby and BC’s Interior, is taking an active role to help the students’ voices be heard. 

I went to the Grand Forks City Council meeting on May 9th and read out a number of questions that students had written in regard to protecting Vienna Woods and our forests.  At the Council meeting I learned that the City is considering a business proposal to sell off six acres of Vienna Woods for a commercial development,” said Koch-Kalanj in a media release. 

“I feel very strongly that before any decision is made to sell off forested lands, Mayor and Council should seriously consider the students concerns, heartfelt questions, and brilliant ideas for potential solutions.  My plea is to preserve Vienna Woods, respect our heritage and provide an environmentally-sound legacy for future generations.”

Vienna Woods is situated just south of downtown Grand Forks with a unique ecosystem that is home to a variety of raptors, birds and other wildlife.  A portion of it is in danger of being sold off by the City for commercial interests.  Another option is available.

Along with helping the students concerns to be heard by the Grand Forks Mayor and Council, Koch-Kalanj is also supporting her brother Gene’s proposal to the City to have Vienna Woods designated as an urban forest and wildlife sanctuary. 

Koch-Kalanj said BC’s new redesigned curriculum contains specific direction for environmental education and place-based learning. 

“This provides an educational opportunity that encourages students to become effective global citizens by acting locally.  Grand Forks students are strongly motivated to have their voices heard and they are taking a keen interest in protecting the Vienna Woods forest," said Koch-Kalanj. 

To show your support to have Vienna Woods protected as a publically-owned urban forest and wildlife sanctuary, please write or email Mayor Konrad and each of the Councillors.  Deliver your letters in person to City Hall, or Emai: info@grandforks.ca

The public can also sign a petition at the New West Trading Health Food Store or on-line petition at Change.org Save the Grand Forks Vienna Woods

Read previous story in Boundary Sentinel.