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  • Friends of Black Mountain Board

FoBM Founder Donates Generous Gift to Park

Ian Pooley, the founder of Friends of Black Mountain, and his wife, Carolyn MacHardy, have created an endowment fund whose purpose is to protect the environmental health of the Black Mountain - sntsk’il’ntәn Regional Park.


“Black Mountain is a fundamental part of the experience of the central Okanagan landscape — something that is shared by everyone, especially those who grew up here, as I did,” Ian says. “For my family, the connection with the mountain goes back to my grandmother, who became a good friend of Colin Pyman, a Black Mountain rancher, sometime before the First World War.”


Carolyn says her late father’s interest in grassland ecosystems inspired the couple’s gift. Dr. Fenton MacHardy, a former University of Alberta professor of agricultural engineering who passed away in January, just shy of his 100th birthday, had some years ago established a fund for graduate students working on grassland preservation in southern Saskatchewan.  


“And it made me wonder, as I retired, what we could do to similarly care for something that meant a lot to us,” Carolyn recalls. “The idea sparked from there.”

Preserving the Park 

The MacHardy-Pooley Family Fund is being established with the primary aim of supporting the “environmental health of Black Mountain - sntsk’il’ntәn Regional Park, park acquisition, interpretation, fencing and other stewardship or habitat-monitoring work,” according to the terms of the endowment.

“This fund will enable us to pursue a number of vital projects aimed at safeguarding the park’s fragile ecosystem,” said Jean-Claude Gavrel, who took over the FoBM presidency last year after Ian retired.

Those projects include building and repairing fences to keep livestock off the environmentally sensitive grasslands; erecting interpretive signage to promote the responsible and respectful use of the park; and monitoring the health and habitats of important plant and animal species. Funds could also be used to create additional nature trails, or to build interpretive viewing platforms.


“We are so delighted by Ian and Carolyn’s generosity,” Jean-Claude said, noting the gift caps years of selfless engagement by the couple in the park’s environmental health.


Lasting legacy


Ian founded the Friends of Black Mountain in 2015 and led efforts to raise $40,000 in donations from the local community to support the group’s work. Under his leadership, 220 students and numerous other volunteers poured more than 1,500 hours of sweat equity into the construction of some four kilometres of trails. For Carolyn, it was imperative that the trails, covered in packed crusher chips, be made as accessible as possible to park visitors of varying levels of physical ability.


The MacHardy-Pooley Family Fund is being set up and managed by the Central Okanagan Foundation (COF), which together philanthropic gifts to create larger endowment funds. The investment income from such funds can then be paid out as grants to charitable organizations in the region. 


You can contribute to the fund by contacting the COF and specifying that you want your donation to be applied to the MacHardy-Pooley Family Fund.


The annual proceeds of the fund will be directed to the Central Okanagan Land Trust (COLT), whose mission is to protect land for wildlife and parks so that biodiversity and natural features are preserved for future generations.


Friends of Black Mountain, COLT and the Regional District of Central Okanagan, which manages the park, will jointly determine how the proceeds of the MacHardy-Pooley Family Fund will be disbursed each year. As a registered charity, Friends of Black Mountain also accepts donations.

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