Thompson Rivers University
A diverse and sensitive ecosystem near Wells Gray Park will become an exclusive living laboratory for Thompson Rivers University students.
Longtime TRU supporters Roland and Anne Neave donated the 160-acre parcel of land to his alma mater with the hope that the property would expand the existing wilderness research area to benefit students from many different disciplines.
The Neave Family Wetland, located on Corral Road, about three km from the Wells Gray Park road, is an important addition to TRU’s existing property in the area, the TRU Wells Gray Wilderness Centre. The wetland is bounded on the north and south by private property, on the west by Crown land, and borders Wells Gray Park on the east side.
“Roland and Anne have been supporters of Thompson Rivers University for many years,” said TRU president and vice-chancellor Alan Shaver. “This special ecosystem is very important to the Neaves and we are honoured to receive this gift which will benefit TRU students and researchers for years to come.”
“This generous gift from the Neave family enables generations of students and faculty to examine delicate and complicated ecosystems that are not found anywhere else in Wells Gray Park and possibly in BC,” said TRU dean of science, Dr. Tom Dickinson.
Dickinson expects that carrying out research and education about this type of wetland on-site will enhance the community-based bid for a UNESCO World Heritage designation for Wells Gray Park.
Approximately one-third of the property is a wetland, occupied by numerous animal and bird species, sloping up to higher ground to the west which also supports much diversity.
“We are pleased to be able to continue to support TRU with this beautiful property,” said Roland Neave. “Not only will important research and academic practice be carried out here, but the habitat will remain undisturbed.”
Neave, owner and operator of Wells Gray Tours, established the first endowment for scholarships for geography students at TRU in 1988, naming it for his late father. This latest gift brings the family’s lifetime giving to nearly $600,000 over the last two decades. Neave was recognized in 2001 as a TRU distinguished alumni.