The Week — June 23

Immortalize a loved one with lichen, flying's out in Victoria, Greater Victoria Police Victim Services hosts a lecture about siblings of murder victims and one reader finds a new use for Mondays.

Curious how to reuse your Monday? One reader came across this leftover ”bed“ in Beacon Hill Park and we're, um, flattered? Got another use? Email news@mondaymag.com.

Lichen: the new immortalization

A rolling stone may gather no moss, but two environmental groups are hoping their fungus initiative sticks. And for those looking for that special gift this year, nothing says “I care” quite like eternalizing someone’s name in a species of lichen.

In an effort to raise funds, the Ancient Forest Alliance (AFA) has partnered with the Land Conservancy (TLC) of B.C. this week to auction off two different species of lichen. The fungus, which forms those haunting “elegant black tresses” on the branches in old-growth forests, is going to come at a pretty price: the highest bid for the AFA lichen is sitting at $1,000 right now, and the one for the TLC is at $3,000. Don’t give up hope yet, though. The auction doesn’t close until Oct. 2 — just in time for Christmas planning.

The undiscovered species was found in B.C. by botanical researcher and taxonomist Trevor Goward, and has been supported by two teams of molecular researchers working in Finland and Spain. According to scientific protocol, the right to give a new species its scientific name goes to the person who describes it, but Goward has donated those rights to whoever scores highest bidder. For the TLC, that money will wind up serving a land conservation project in the Clear Water Valley, and the AFA will put it toward old-growth environmental education.

“Many people want to be immortalized, and this is one way to do this — your name, or the name of someone or something you care about will be there for all of eternity,” says Barry Booth, TLC’s northern regional manager. “It starts by honouring someone’s contribution to the world, but the end result is conservation action, which is a wonderful way to be remembered.”

TLC is hoping the bid is able to cover the cost of the entire Clear Water Valley acquisition project, or $350,000. While it may be steep, bidders could even join the ranks of President Barack Obama, who has the “Obamae” lichen named after him.

For information on how to throw in your bid, visit ancientforestalliance.org, or conservancy.bc.ca.

Flying is so last year

News this week that Victoria International Airport (YYJ) has seen a drop in passenger volume, down 2.1 per cent from last year, with 592,723 passengers through airport gates.

Statistics from Victoria Airport Authority for May 2011 also show a 1.4-per-cent decline from May 2010. Despite the drop, Geoff Dickson, Victoria Airport Authority president and CEO, says there’s no trend evident and no reason to suspect an overall drop.

“January and February were record months for us, and there was marked decline in March and April, then modest decline in May,” he says.

Dickson says that, since 2008, traffic has been steady though not growing, and emphasizes that services offered can play a role in drawing passengers. Despite the fancy new interchange that cost the airport $3 million, along with additional federal and provincial funding this past year, those services aren’t doing much to draw people in. Meanwhile, reports state Vancouver International (YVR) and Sea-Tac International (SEA) airports are reporting positive growth in 2011 through the month of April.

“There still is uncertainty in the economy, and we feel that to a certain extent in Victoria,” says Dickson. “There is no way to see a trend at this time.”

Trauma in the family

With a recent rash of high-profile homicides in the media lately, Greater Victoria Police Victim Services is hosting a guest lecture by Dr. Susan Tasker, an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Psychology and Leadership Studies at UVic.

Tasker holds a strong interest in compassion fatigue and critical/cumulative incident stress, and will be hosting a workshop titled: “Siblings of young homicide victims: what lives do they go on to live?”

“This research is important because we know so little about the futures of the brothers and sisters of young victims of murder,” says Tasker, who will be presenting her lecture at Victim Services Annual General Meeting Thursday, June 23, at the Nellie McClung Public Library (3750 Cedar Hill) at 5:30 p.m. For more information, visit gvpvs.org. M

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