At six years old, William McDermott is the youngest person to donate to the Islands Trust Conservancy. William and his family live on Salt Spring Island. His favourite spot on the island is the beach on Price Road, where he spends hours trekking, collecting shells and rocks, and investigating all the wonderful wildlife on the beach and in the tides. A close second to the Price Road beach is the fairy walk on the Mt. Erskine - a place he calls "magical". He's protective of the natural world - picking up trash from the beach and watching out for "critters". He's been known to rescue a crab or two.
Richard Louv's book Last Child in the Woods identifies strong correlations between children's experience in the natural world and their ability to learn and develop physically and emotionally. Across Canada, many children do not have access to natural areas where they can play and explore, while incidences of learning disabilities and physical diseases continue to rise. Here on the islands, however, communities have worked to protect the natural areas where William and other island children play. Now, with his donation to conservation, William is continuing that island tradition of investing in the future.
William's gift came in the form of nickels, dimes and quarters - a portion of his allowance he hopes will save habitat. To be realistic, William is probably not thinking about the long-term significance of his gift, but we hope his donation, along with the contributions of other like-minded individuals, will ensure that all of our islands' six-year olds continue to find magic in the great outdoors.
To help William invest in the future, please donate to the Islands Trust Conservancy and help us protect beaches and forests for the children of tomorrow.