Nature Trust of BC joins forces with YSL Beauty and Re:wild

By Chadd Cawson Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

We must nurture our nature as the latter really is a precious thing of beauty. It is why The Nature Trust of BC is proud to be the Canadian operating non-government organization (NGO) partnering with Re:wild and YSL Beauty for the Canadian launch of REWILD OUR EARTH. REWILD OUR EARTH is a global program developed in partnership with Re:wild, a world-class NGO that works with 400 conservation partners in 84 countries to advance ecological restoration globally, aims to protect and restore 100,000 hectares of land by the year 2030.

“We officially became the local operating NGO partner for the Canadian launch of REWILD OUR EARTH this past December 7,” said Jasper Lament, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of The Nature Trust. “Re:wild and YSL Beauty got in touch with our team and asked us to work with them on this project, with a focus on the White Lake Basin property within the south Okanagan grasslands. We’ve admired Re:wild and YSL Beauty’s own incredible commitment to conservation and we jumped at the chance to work with them. It was a natural fit and we believe this project will create meaningful and positive change.”

The Canadian Launch of REWILD OUR EARTH will enable the protection of 65.1 hectares of critical grasslands within the South Okanagan region of British Columbia which is a national biodiversity hotspot. These South Okanagan Grasslands are located within the traditional territories of First Nations communities, including the Penticton Indian Band (snPink’tn) and Lower Similkameen Indian Band (Smelqmix), both members of the Okanagan Nation (Syilx People). This project will engage the help of traditional ecological knowledge keepers from the Okanagan Nation Education and Cultural En’owkin Centre to ensure that these traditions are protected in their continuity.

Re:wild one of the two other partners in this ambitious program was founded by a group of renowned conservation scientists together with awarding winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio has a mandate to protect and restore the wild. With a focus on finding the most effective solutions to the inter- connected climate, biodiversity, and human health crises. YSL Beauty the other, has strengthened its commitment to people and the planet through their commitment to this project. This initiative is in sync with the brand's wider sustainability platform (known as 'Change the Rules, Change the Future') and the long-standing commitment to the Earth, inspired by the legacy of Mr. Saint Laurent.

"A commitment to the Earth lies at the heart of the YSL Beauty brand, inspired by the legacy of Mr. Saint Laurent, a nature lover who drew inspiration from the natural wonders of Morocco throughout his career," said Carl D. Morisset, General Manager, YSL Beauty, L'Oréal Canada in a January press release. "With the national launch of REWILD OUR EARTH, we are proud to make a long-term commitment to championing work on land system change. Our goal is to help to protect and restore an area of Canada that is vital to the nation's natural longevity and to have a positive impact on the local community."

As a brand within the L'Oréal Group, YSL Beauty is committed to enacting positive change in the world putting the focus back on both people and the planet. Today, our wildlife is in decline; when more than one million species are on the brink of extinction and 75 per cent of all Earth's land areas have been degraded, REWILD OUR EARTH has the potential to help make a measurable impact. While, Re:wild is a force that brings together Indigenous peoples, local communities, influential leaders, nongovernmental organizations, governments, companies, and the public to protect and rewild at the scale and speed the world we live in needs to see.

“It’s an incredible honour to collaborate with forward-thinking and high-profile companies such as Re:wild and YSL Beauty,” said Lament. “For the past 50 years, The Nature Trust of BC has been committed to protecting and restoring the most vulnerable and ecologically valuable properties throughout our province for the benefit of our planet and its ecosystems.”

Lament shares that conservation is key to mitigating climate change and protecting the many plant and animal species within these properties. Working alongside Re:wild and YSL Beauty as a part of the Canadian launch of REWILD OUR EARTH allows Nature Trust BC the opportunity to utilize their extensive conservation experience, and knowledge of these south Okanagan sacred grasslands

“We are proud to work together to protect and revitalize 160.8 acres of land in the White Lake Basin,” said Lament and believe REWILD OUR EARTH will make a global impact.”

Protection of the White Lake Basin area is critical and will positively impact the species and ecosystems that thrive in and depend on this critical habitat. Just a few of these federally listed species include western tiger salamander, Lewis's Woodpecker, and the black bear. While grasslands account for less than 1 per cent of British Columbia’s land base, they provide sanctuary, habitat, and breeding grounds for over 30 per cent of our province’s sensitive species. Approximately 95 per cent of the area is comprised of sensitive ecosystems such as open sagebrush steppe, grasslands, riparian, and broadleaf woodlands. Because this land is located within the traditional territories of various First Nations communities, it is considered a cultural and historical site, and an important source of medicines and foods. This launch and project and will engage the help of traditional ecological knowledge keepers from the Okanagan Nation Education and Cultural En'owkin Centre to ensure continuity in these traditions.

“REWILD OUR EARTH’s mission is to protect and restore 100,000 hectares of land by 2030. The environmental benefits of that objective cannot be overstated,” said Lament. “The focus of this initiative on the White Lake Basin property and these grasslands are integral to the health of our province. With REWILD OUR EARTH’s expansion into Canada, we knew the optimum area for our focus was grasslands. As climate change alters the geographic conditions of grasslands, it profoundly impacts plant and animal species. Increased fragmentation reduces species ability to disperse and adjust to swiftly changing conditions. These changes are a direct result of human activity and when we conserve properties, we not only protect that area, but we enhance the connectivity of the region. By protecting and healing this vulnerable area we are creating a ripple effect that will benefit our planet.”

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