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Restore Nature Exhibit After Fire

$2,980 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 37 people in 1 month
Created September 17, 2018

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.

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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.

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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 hornby.naturalhistory@gmail.com 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

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Below are a few photos of our Exhibit and Programs:

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To learn more about the Natural History Centre, please visit our website: www.hornbynaturalhistory.com 

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Firstly, we’d like to thank everyone who has so generously donated to the Natural History Centre's restoration and reestablishment campaign thus far. Your support is encouraging and essential for us to move forward during this challenging time!

Demolition and Moving the Collection
Demolition at the Hornby Island Community School began on Monday, October 15th, and is scheduled for completion in November. The office and gym areas have now been demolished. We’ve been told by the school district that the next section (up to the new wing just past the library and including the natural history room) will be partially demolished, with walls being removed down to the metal studs.

We have been working hard to save the collection during the last few weeks! Before the demolition began, the Natural History Stewards and other community volunteers moved everything out of the room. Because of the fragility of many items and smoke damage, this was a delicate process. The entire collection, including all the taxidermied birds, is now in one of shipping containers that are sited behind the school. During one especially full week recently, we had three work parties and worked a total of ninety-hours. We also dug plants from the ethnobotanical native plant demonstration garden in order to save them. The restoration company cleaned and moved all the furniture and put it into the second shipping container.

Cleaning of the Collection
Fortunately, none of the natural history treasures perished in the fire, but they have extensive soot and smoke damage and require skillful cleaning. In late November, we’re very fortunate that the Senior Conservator from the Provincial Museum in Victoria, Kasey Lee, is donating her time to come demonstrate to the Stewards the process involved with cleaning the birds and other taxidermied items in the collection. The actual cleaning will be a long and careful process.

Fundraising Goal
When including the donations that have arrived in the mail by cheque, we have raised a total of $8,730! This means we are 35% of the way towards our goal.

Plans for the Future
We are doing our very best to ensure the safety and preservation of everything in our collection. We feel that it belongs to the whole community and are eager to recreate the museum and continue our educational activities and programs. We are planning to make the spring events and summer programs happen in 2019, even if we don’t have a facility yet. Further, we plan to reestablish the collection and reopen the centre within two years.

This is a difficult time because of all the uncertainty involved. But we have been told by several people that the school may be rebuilt within two years-time. Over the years the school children and their families have helped create the exhibit and we are hopeful that the collection can be relocated back to the school. Since the beginning, they have helped build it by donating found specimens and raising money to have then taxidermied.

We are grateful for the community’s support through donations, sharing this fundraising page, and offering to help in various ways. As time passes we will call on those people who have generously offered their help as the need arises.

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, for those who donate on GoFundMe, you can send us your mailing address by email to hornby.naturalhistory@gmail.com and we will send you a tax receipt.

Thank you for reading. Please spread the word to anyone you’d like to share this update with!

With all of our best wishes,
The Hornby Island Natural History Stewards

Photos:
- Demolition of the school. Photo by by Jake Berman.
- Natural history volunteers carry taxidermied animals out of the school in preparation for cleaning and storage. Photo by Sarat Colling.
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$2,980 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 37 people in 1 month
Created September 17, 2018
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