Big donation from Land Trust founder

A founding member of the Cowichan Land Trust has bequeathed the proceeds from the sale of his home to the organization he helped create.

The major donation from naturalist and mountaineer Syd Watts will be placed in the non-profit society’s land acquisition fund and held for the next purchase of land for conservation. None of the money will be used to operate the society.

Watts came to the Cowichan Valley in 1937 at the age or 10 and first experienced mountaineering on Mt. Prevost with the Scouts. He later joined the Victoria Alpine Club, and in 1958 he helped form the Island Mountain Ramblers, going on to spend more than 50 years climbing, exploring the back country, and photographing the wild areas of Vancouver Island.

Watts and his wife, Emily, were early members of the Cowichan Valley Naturalists’ Society, and Watts also served as the warden of the Mt. Tzouhalem Ecological Reserve.

“His knowledge of flowers, trees, birds and the ecology of Vancouver Island, and his commitment to conservation were legendary,” Land Trust spokesperson John Scull said.