Vol. 102 No. 45
Bill Davidson, President
Parisa Adrangi, Secretary

MEETING MAY 26, 2020 (virtual)
Henk Snoeken, Dutch Consul- General
Canada-Netherlands Relationship

The Consulate-General in Vancouver, with Henk Snoeken at the helm, represents the interests of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and its citizens in the area they serve. The consulate’s work focuses on economic cooperation and supporting the Dutch business community in projects in West Canada. Given the many Dutch nationals in West Canada, consular services are an important part of our work. Emigration from the Netherlands to Canada in the 20th century was a key factor in our bilateral relations. More than 150,000 Dutch people emigrated to Canada between 1947 and 1970 and migration still contributes to the close ties between Canada and the Netherlands. There are currently more than a million people of Dutch origin living in Canada. The consular teams at our missions are always ready to provide ample services for the Dutch who made Canada their home.


NEXT MEETING JUNE 2, 2020 (virtual)
Fergal McCarthy, Peace Programs Manager
Rotary International

Fergal McCarthy is the Peace Programs Manager at Rotary International.  He will present on the strategy of Rotary International on peace building. Prior to his role at Rotary, Fergal worked at the Rand Corporation in California, the Irish Prime Minister’s Office in Dublin Ireland as well as the Irish Foreign Ministry.  He holds a BA in World Religions & Theology and an MPhil in International Peace Studies both from Trinity College Dublin, an MA in Comparative Ethnic Conflict Studies from Queens University Belfast and an MSt in International Relations from the University of Cambridge.


The antidote to fear and anxiety is gratitude, says Kevin Cullin, Globe Columnist, and for all the ruin the virus has already caused to lives and livelihoods and life’s simple pleasures and freedoms, it has gifted many people with the one thing they constantly wish for and never have enough of: time. Time to engage with those closest to us. Time to discover new passions - cooking, container gardening, reading, backyard badminton, looking at stars... lots of stars.
Our cities are benefitting from what they've been lacking for a long time: better air quality. Air pollution has fallen by unprecedented levels in major global cities during coronavirus lockdowns. Major cities that suffer from the world's worst air pollution have seen reductions of deadly particulate matter by up to 60% from the previous year, during a three-week lockdowns period. Now that's something to celebrate!
What are you focussing on right now, as lockdown has become a way of life?
What you focus on expands in your brain.
Make it something positive and celebrate.

Rotary District 5040 “Roskars” Awards 2020

Email invitations with ZOOM link have been sent!
Our club has a number of nominees in the running
Be sure to join in on the event to celebrate them!

Fancy Hats and Glasses Cocktail Hour
Awards Zoom Extravaganza

(Affectionately known as Plan B)

Sunday May 24th 4:00-5:00 PM via ZOOM

The District Awards will be presented by your Host
DG Bala Naidoo and his sidekick Tom Smith.

The awards being presented are
Rotary Club of the Year, Rotarian of the Year,
Don Evans People of Action Awards,
and Membership Awards.

Upcoming Events
please click on the titles for more info for specific events
International Service Committee meeting (contact Chair, Ian Storrs, for meeting invite)
virtual ZOOM meeting
Jun 18, 2020 7:30 PM
Membership Committee Meeting (contact Chair, Franz Gehriger, for meeting invite)
virtual ZOOM meeting
Jun 30, 2020 8:30 AM
RCoV Board meeting
virtual ZOOM meeting
Jul 09, 2020 4:00 PM
International Service Committee meeting (contact Chair, Ian Storrs, for meeting invite)
virtual ZOOM meeting
Jul 16, 2020 7:30 PM
Membership Committee Meeting (contact Chair, Franz Gehriger, for meeting invite)
virtual ZOOM meeting
Jul 28, 2020 8:30 AM
View entire list


Kamyar Asadibeiky May 19th
at our Club
Sahra Homayounian 1 year
none this week

Last Meeting May 19th, 2020

Bill Davidson, President, chaired the meeting and gave the invocation.
Thomas Reppchen hosted the meeting via ZOOM.
President’s Announcements:
  • Thanks to Thomas for hosting the meeting via ZOOM.
  • Welcome to our guests, most of whom introduced themselves to the group.
  • We have received an interesting piece of history – a name badge dated from around 1914 in the name of John Vance. His grandson sent it to us with a note. John Vance worked as a City Analyst for Vancouver and eventually worked with the Vancouver Police Department. He developed quite a reputation for his criminal forensic work, being referred to as The Sherlock Holmes of Canada.

    A book about his work was published in 2018, Blood Sweat and Fear, the Story of Inspector Vance, Vancouver’s First Forensic Investigator, written by Eve Lazarus. There is also a short film available to watch on YouTube.
  • We received a thank you from Domestic Abuse Services for whom we donated $4,000 via our Community Service Committee. They confirmed that, with these funds, they were able to complete the electrical upgrades and finishing work in their units. Eva’s House, a 2nd stage transition home for women and children fleeing domestic violence, is once again able to be at full capacity – they express heartfelt gratitude to our Club.
  • Our renewed PR/Marketing Committee, now being headed up by Saarika Varma is ramping up and going to be busy working on our branding and communication. Getting the word out, both internally and externally, about the wonderful world of Rotary and the great work that we/you all do. The committee has their work cut out for them, especially in this quick changing world; thanks to all who have come forward to help.
Parisa Adrangi, provided the Secretary's announcements:
  • reminders of upcoming events/meetings (see above)
  • birthdays: Kamyar Asadibeiky May 19th
  • member club anniversariesSahra Homayounian 1 year
  • wedding anniversaries:  none this week
Special announcements and members' moments:
  • Peter Clarke, Chair of the District 5040 Awards Committee, encouraged us all to attend the 2020 awards event (see above for details). Bring glasses of your choice, on your face or in your hand, and attend this approximately 1 hour event to celebrate our own. Our club has a few nominees, let’s attend to support them (maybe it’s you).

    A secure ZOOM link has been sent to each of you via email.
  • Gerry Glazier, received thanks from Britannia Secondary for our club’s support. CLICK HERE to watch their video.

    Ron Suzuki added that 75% of their students did not have access to on-line learning. Our donation helped to provide 150 chrome tablets and to subsidize WIFI access for families who didn’t have access. Everyone is now on-line.
  • Gary Chomyn provided an update for the Hoop-a-thon. Good news… over $50,000 has been raised despite the incredible obstacles faced with COVID-19 restrictions. The committee is now in the process of judging scholarship applications they’ve received and will be able to advise the results soon. A sincere thank you to everyone who donated already. CLICK HERE to read about updates or to make donations (
  • Kaz Kadona was interviewed by Navid Morawej. Thanks to the Networking Committee for bringing these interviews to us so we can get to know our fellow Rotarians better. CLICK HERE to view the entire interview. CLICK HERE to view the entire interview.
  • John Hayto is in regular contact with exchange student, Mar. She would love to come back to Canada, especially to complete her school year but that is unlikely.
  • Brian Street organized a socially distant meeting with his mentees, Sarah & Thomas Reppchen, in Tsawwassen. They met a friend of Brian’s, one of his high school teachers, and enjoyed a pleasant afternoon together but separate.
  • Sandra Lowe shared that after 10 long years, her daughter has finished medical school. Though an in-person, traditional graduation is not possible, McMaster Uni has organized for them to declare the Hippocratic Oath on-line.
  • Thomas Reppchen thanked John Hayto for perfecting the backyard garden socially distant gatherings. Enjoyable and important to stay connected as best we can.
  • William Brunke has been researching the upside of the lockdown we are currently experiencing. This is challenging! If you have any thoughts, questions, ideas, please reach out to William. He wants to connect.
Fred West introduced our speaker, Gregg Howald, Director of Global and External Affairs for Island Conservation. Gregg is one of the world's foremost experts in island restoration – over the past 15 years he has directed, consulted, advised, participated in and/or managed rodent eradication projects on more than 20 islands in 5 countries including the United States, Canada, Mexico, Ecuador, and Micronesia.
Gregg is an eco-toxicologist by training. His specialty is on the island bird life, the organization also works with plants. Gregg has worked to remove rodents from approximately 40 islands so far, starting with the removal of invasive rats from island to protect a small bird nesting in Haida Gwaii.
The world is in a period of change. We are losing species at an alarming rate. David Quammen quoted, “As we extinguish the planet’s biodiversity, we also lose our world’s beauty, spiritual depth, and ecological health.” The world, our world, on which we rely is driven by diversity.
Islands have a special conservation need. They represent about 5% of the earth’s land mass, supporting about 20% of the global biodiversity. These tiny bits of land support a disproportionate amount of species. Extinctions of bird, amphibian, mammal and reptiles are at a whopping 75%. About 85% of recorded extinctions are linking to invasives that occur on islands.
Some examples:
  • Stephens Island, New Zealand – a lighthouse location where typically families would live on island. Daughter brought cat, not before seen on the island. This one cat killed a bird species to extinction.
  • Aleutian Islands, Alaska – there are marine birds that breed only on these islands. The birds guano and the marine nutrients they drag onto the islands effectively fertilize the ground for flora growth. This flora feed herbivores such as slugs, that in turn feed predators such as land birds and spiders. Russians introduced foxes that pushed the seabirds off the island effectively killing off the flora. Removal of foxes has allowed the eco-systems to recover back to “normal”.
  • Lord Howe, Australia – rat infestation resulted in decreased nutrient transfers from seabirds. Waste from the rats resulted in less algae and increased pathogens and poor water quality which then led to less phytoplankton, zooplankton, decreased coral reef health, less herbivorous fish, and fewer predators near the reefs. Removal of the rats, restored all of that biodiversity and eco-system health.
Invasive species on islands is a large global problem. Rats on 80-90% of islands all over. How do we increase the scale of response to remove invasive species? A permanent solution can be achieved by removing invasive species. Approximately 1100 projects (some small, some large) are currently underway. Given the number of islands effected, still a lot of work to be done.
More examples:
  • Pinzon Island, Galapagos – the 100% of the giant tortoises’ eggs were being lost. Removal of the invasive species and harvesting of the eggs, raising the tortoises to a substantial age then reintroducing them has been quite successful.
  • Isla Choros, Chile – rabbits were introduced back in the 1950s. Their appetite resulted in the prevention of full flora growth. Once the rabbits were removed, the whole environment regenerated.
  • Palmyra Atoll – the military decimated the island. It is now recovering, with the removal of rats. The terrestrial coconut crab, at its largest is about size of garbage can lid and can live 80-100 years. Rats would prey on the crab, now the crabs are making a comeback. Within 6-8 weeks of removal of rats the vegetation flushed. Within 6 years 5,000% increase of growth was documented.
  • Kayangel, Palau – they are looking to protect ground based, jungle fowl. Threatened across pacific islands. 150 residents of Kayangel were strongly in support of eliminating the invasive rats. The people were competing with the rats for limited resources. Upon eradication there were immediate increases in productivity.
  • Rat Island – was eerily quiet. Rats introduced to the location in the late 1700s; they decimated marine bird colonies. The rats were successfully removed in 2008. Within a few years, recovery of marine birds was evident. Acoustic monitoring equipment went from only hearing winds to constant bird chatter. The tufted puffin have come back, song sparrows, oyster catchers, chocolate bell flower plants. The local Unangan (Aleut) first nations successfully petitioned to change the name from Rat Island to the original name, Hawadax.
  • Haida Gwaii – project in Juan Perez, black tailed deer were introduced as food source for local populations, though without natural predators the deer population exploded. This resulted in a complete loss of forest cover and related biodiversity. Exclusion zone showed recovery of the forest floor after a very short time period, e.g., spruce and red cedar. There have been approximately 230 whole island eradications completed to date with a success rate increasing.
The typical way for implementation is to use established culling techniques. It requires very careful planning and testing of proposed techniques prior to implementation. Then success confirmation ongoing after implementation, work on biosecurity and then, if all works as planned, having a favourable conservation outcome.
In closing, Gregg remains passionate and hopeful. The work continues all around the world – removing invasive species can prevent extinctions. That said, they are not looking to eradicate rats completely from the world, just from places they are doing harm. Examples abound of successful projects and work still left to be done. Check out the following links:
  • Coastal Conservation website, CLICK HERE
  • Island Conservation website, CLICK HERE
  • Explore a map showing threatened island biodiversity, CLICK HERE
  • Contact Gregg with any questions or queries, CLICK HERE
With thoughts of sadness in the face of the recent Snowbirds unfortunate accident,
Meeting adjourned with a toast to all those who serve to protect us.

June 12, 2020


Bill Davidson, President   Parisa Adrangi, Secretary