North Delta boy donates birthday cash to Burns Bog

Small but meaningful act hoped to inspire others to help the bog.

Eight-year-old Nolan Gagnon holds up aq certificate of appreciation from the Burns Bog Conservation Foundation after he donated some of his birthday money to the group.

NORTH DELTA — What does $40 mean to you?

Perhaps a quick trip to the grocery store or half a tank of gas?

For eight-year-old Nolan Gagnon, it means a lot more than that.

For his birthday, the North Delta boy asked for cash instead of gifts. He took $40 of that money and donated it to the Burns Bog Conservation Foundation.

“My interest began because I’ve heard about the fire that it had a few years ago,” Nolan told the Now.

“I thought it was really a bad thing so I thought I wanted to send a donation to it and make it better. I’m very interested in it because it’s very big and it has all these creatures that are so amazing.”

Often referred to as the “lungs of the Lower Mainland,” more than 400 species of birds have been spotted in the 3,000 hectare bog, the largest raised peat bog on the west coast of North America.

By comparison, Vancouver’s Stanley Park is just over 400 hectares.

BBCF chair Doug Hart said Nolan is one of the youngest people to ever donate to the bog.

The foundation presented him with a certificate of appreciation, memorabilia and offered his family a guided tour of the Delta Nature Reserve.

“I’ve never met somebody who’s so enthusiastic about the environment and how important he feels it is a part of his life,” remarked Hart.

“Our goal is for everybody to have his type of enthusiasm as to the importance of the environment to the future of Canada and I guess for all the world. This is becoming more and more prevalent as you read the newspapers. Even in the last month and before, out of Paris, where all of the nations got together and have now dedicated to putting a plan into place against global warming.”

Hart added: “My goodness, when it comes to our mission statement and overall goals and objective, (Nolan) is a part of us now.”

The boy’s passion for the environment comes from home.

“We’re trying to do our best to eliminate chemicals in the house and live as healthy as we can,” said mom Jeanette Gagnon.

“I’m a breast cancer survivor, so it makes it even more important. We want to continue on with that, and to instill in them not to litter, to recycle. It’s the air that we breathe that we all need in the end, and the bog does that for us. Just a small area of the bog takes so much CO2 and converts it into oxygen.

“It’s very inspiring to have it here, just to be close to it,” she remarked.

The proud mom oozed with pride.

“We didn’t expect that (the society) would make such a big deal out of it,” she said, beaming. “We just felt that it’s a good cause. Forty dollars can go a really long way. It wasn’t a huge amount but for a kid, that’s one less Lego game.”

She hopes the small but meaningful act inspires others.

“That’s kind of what the goal is,” said Jeanette. “I think it’s a very worthwhile cause – to prevent developing the land and learning what it actually does for us. Even as parents, we never stop learning.”

For more information on the bog, or to donate, visit Burnsbog.org.

amy.reid@thenownewspaper.com

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