A blue heron perches on a rock between the Royston Wrecks and K’omoks estuary, which also happens to be directly in front of Royston House B&B. This Comox Valley Bed and Breakfast was awarded Green Tourism Gold one year ago, and owners Ross and Nancy Munro invited me to return to the property when the yard was in full bloom to fully appreciate what it means to be a Certified Backyard Wildlife Habitat green business.
Late spring at Royston House means flowers are blooming everywhere. The nearly 2000 mason bees living on the property are winding down for the season, and are being replaced by bumblebees and local honeybees. There are dozens of bird species, not to mention deer, raccoons, rabbits and bugs that live on the property each year. The yard has several mature tree species, such as Garry Oak, Douglas Fir, Dogwood, Alder and Wild Cherry, and the landscaping they have done has been carefully designed to include native and pollinator plants, which continue to benefit these visitors year after year.
And these aren’t the only visitors who benefit from the lush vegetation. The property stimulates all the senses for guests, including being able to taste the green hotels’ organically grown fruits and vegetables, homemade jams, apple juice and baked goodies, all from the garden.
I was guided around the 2-acre property, smelling the fragrance of the magnificent rhododendrons, admiring the unique beauty of the helleborus, and observing the subtle differences between the multiple species of ferns. While looking at the lilies in the rock pond, Ross divulged into how they became certified by the Canadian Wildlife Federation.
When they opened their carriage house Bed and Breakfast Suite, they registered with BBCanada. The first newsletter article they received from BBCanada illustrated how Bed and Breakfasts were ideal spaces to become Canadian Wildlife Certified Backyard Habitats. The couple immediately contacted the Canadian Wildlife Federation to enquire about how to be eco-friendly and gain certification for their sustainability management.
The steps to becoming certified include creating a sketch of your property highlighting all natural features, filling out an application and submitting photos of your property and it’s features. Click here for more information on how to apply.
The entire certification process took about a month, and Ross said the most challenging part was, “figuring out the Latin names for the 50 plus native plants and trees growing at Royston House.” But it was something they felt was well worth it.
“Most of our guests enjoy the outdoors, whether biking, jogging or walking one of the many trails in the Comox Valley, so being surrounded by nature while enjoying the niceties of a luxury B&B makes their stay something special,” Ross added. Learn more about their green business: http://www.roystonhouse.ca/oceanside_habitat.php.
Other green initiatives and eco-friendly ideas that helped Royston House earn Gold Green Tourism Certification include:
- Donating native plants to and are actively involved in local habitat restoration projects
- Using ARXX ICFs in house construction (which are over 40R rated) and with a passive solar window design
- Installing Energy Star equipment in the kitchen and low energy use lighting such as CFLs and LEDs
- Supporting local and organic food producers (eggs, meat, dairy, produce)
- Tracking energy use and actively reduced
- Reducing heating with a central high efficiency two-stage carrier heat pump, high efficiency RSF wood fireplace
- Using natural cleaning products, eco-friendly laundry detergent and handmade soaps
“Having the CWF and Green Tourism Certifications are something we feel is well worth the effort,” adds Ross. “Our guest comments tell us we doing a good job of raising awareness to live life more naturally.” Spreading environmental awareness is all part of how the Munro’s operate their green business.
And as I flipped through their guest comment book, nearly every comment mentioned how much guests enjoyed the peace, tranquility and connection to nature at Royston House. Some were impressed, others inspired by the green initiatives, and many simply enjoyed the pleasure of bird watching, visiting the lush gardens or tasting the fresh picked fruit and homemade jams.
So as P.A. from the United States says, if you stay at Royston House Bed & Breakfast, you are likely going to enjoy “lovely conversations with Ross and Nancy about all the natural beauties around [the Comox Valley] and [learn] about their sustainable gardening practices and their commitment to both the local community and environment.”
Please visit their website to learn more about the amenities at Royston House B&B, www.roystonhouse.ca.
If becoming a Certified Backyard Wildlife Habitat appeals to you, learn more by following this link http://cwf-fcf.org/en/do-something/challenges-projects/get-certified.
Written by Lindsay Eason
Lindsay is the Program Manager for Green Tourism Canada and Co-Founder of GreenStep Solutions Inc. She writes blogs and articles about green business practices and sustainable tourism. Lindsay lives in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island with her family where they constantly explore nature and try to live an active and healthy lifestyle.