Names for newly discovered lichen species up for auction

Deadline is Thursday for Ancient Forest Alliance and The Land Conservancy fundraisers

Biologist Andy McKinnon shows off some lichen at Mill Hill regional park in Langford. He is urging people to enter bids on the naming rights for two new species

The Land Conservancy and Ancient Forest Alliance are hoping to cash in on lichens.

After discovering two new species in the southern Interior, lichenoligist Trevor Goward decided auctioning off the naming rights for them would be a good way to raise money for conservation causes supported by the two groups.

When Metchosin biologist Andy McKinnon heard his friend of 30 years, Goward, discovered two new lichen species, he was thrilled and bid $3,000 on each auction. But he has been outbid on both. Currently the bids are sitting at $3,500 and $6,000.

“I would love this to attract some major efforts to donate to the cause,” Goward said. “The bids are (still) absurdly low.”

The money raised for TLC will go towards purchasing private land between two pieces of Wells Grey Park in the Interior of B.C.

“We want to create a corridor for the (wildlife) to cross through,” said TLC northern region manager Barry Booth. Animals such as grizzly bears and moose already frequent the area.

More than $350,000 still needs to be raised. The project hits close to home for Goward, who donated 10 acres of property within the corridor. His neighbour has also donated 62 acres of his property to the cause. To secure the corridor, TLC needs to purchase an additional 28 acres.

The Alliance doesn’t have a specific project in mind, but has several in the works, said Ken Wu, AFA executive director.

“A lot of lichens grow in old-growth forests. When those forests are gone, the lichen will disappear,” Goward said. “I’ve been watching these places disappear my whole life. I feel (the Alliance) will make a difference. ”

There are already lichens named after Barack Obama and SpongeBob SquarePants.

“In the end it doesn’t matter (about the names). We want to raise funds for habitats for lichens and everything else that lives in (B.C.),” McKinnon said.

To bid on the TLC auction call 1-877-485-2422. To place a bid through the Ancient Forest Alliance, email or call 250-896-4007.

The deadline is Thursday (Dec. 15) for both.

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