Restore Nature Exhibit After Fire

The Hornby Island Natural History Centre’s exhibit collection requires restoration and maintenance after a recent fire.

On the morning of August 26th, a fire at the Hornby Island Community School caused a third of the building to burn down and the rest to be damaged by smoke and water. While we initially thought the Natural History room appeared relatively intact visually, the entire collection has suffered damage from smoke and fine soot. Our Insurance adjuster informs us that our insurance coverage will not be adequate to cover the costs involved, even with our volunteer efforts. We are in the process of removing the entire collection from the building and are preparing for restoration, maintenance, and hopefully relocation back to the school.

The heart of the Natural History Centre is our well-loved “Exhibit”, which showcases the unique environment of Hornby Island. Since the early nineties, the collection has been an important part of our community and the children who live and visit us here. It includes displays on forests and minerals, geology, fossils and bones, entomology, marine life, herring life cycle, shell midden, mammals, raptors and small birds. The Exhibit offers fascinating geological information on the diverse rock formations that make up Hornby Island, world class fossils including giant ammonites unique to the island, and a wonderful collection of taxidermied local bird specimens. Each year, we work to improve the space, changing and enhancing displays and hands-on activities.

The Natural History Centre also holds educational programs such as student focused activities, nature walks, expert speakers, and workshops on pertinent local topics. These programs provide community members and visitors to the island opportunities for cultivating deeper relationships with the natural world. We know from comments in our guest book that the Centre has a significant impact on our visitors from around the world.

The Natural History Stewards are spearheading this fundraising campaign to ensure that these northern Gulf Island treasures, specimens, and artifacts will continue to enrich our community and beyond. Our goal is to raise a minimum of $25,000 because there is a lot of work to be done and our insurance does not cover all the expenses.

To preserve the collection, the artifacts and specimens must first be relocated into clean dry storage containers. Then the process and cost of cleaning to remove smoke/soot damage begins. Containers must be rented and transported to the island, thereafter there is a monthly fee per container for as long as it takes for the school to be rebuilt. We are also dedicated to doing everything we can to continue making the collection and our educational outreach programs available to the public in the future.

We ask for your financial support today to help with the preservation. Your contribution of $5, $10, $20, $50 or more dollars will help us to maintain and restore this valuable educational resource. 

Please note: donations made on GoFundMe do not automatically receive a tax receipt. Tax receipts will be given upon request for any donation exceeding $50.00.  If you would like to donate and would like a tax receipt, there are two options noted below: 

Please feel free to mail in a cheque and make it payable to: Hornby Island Educational Society. On the MEMO line of the cheque please indicate that your donation is for the “NHC Fund”.

Mail your donation to:
Hornby Island Educational Society – Natural History Centre
2100 Sollans Rd. Hornby Island, British Columbia V0R1Z0

Alternatively, you can contact us by email at [email redacted] with information about your donation to the Go Fund Me Page and once we confirm it we will send you a tax receipt. 

Thank you for your time and support!

From the Natural History Centre Committee:

Barb Biagi
Joan Brears
Shelley Creelman
Sally Englund
Ruth Goldsmith
Bill Hamilton
Tina Wai
Neil Wilson
Norma Wilson

Below are a few photos of our Exhibit and Programs:

To learn more about the Natural History Centre, please visit our website: 

  • Shannon Warwick
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  • Jill Turk
    • $100 
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  • Sean Harrison
    • $100 
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  • Jo-Ann & mike Zelen
    • $100 
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    • $25 
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See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Hornby Island Natural History Centre Centre
Hornby Island, BC
Petra Chambers-Sinclair

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