Martin Keeley was a drama critic turned environmentalist. He moved to Point Roberts with his wife, Claudette Reed Upton-Keeley, and quickly began supporting a fight against golf course, condominium and hotel development in the area because it threatened the local heron colony. Martin and his wife Claudette worked hand in hand to research their passion of herons and to preserve the Point Roberts heron rookery. Keeley then helped to found the Point Roberts Heron Preservation Committee (PRHPC) in 1989 and remained on as director for many years until the organization's membership interest spread from just Point Roberts to the entire span of Boundary Bay, at which point the B.C. Great Blue Heron Society was created to encorporate all of the surrounding areas interests. The PRHPC then became a sub-committee of the BC Great Blue Heron Society, linking it to other environmental groups and environmentalists. With the work Keeley was doing for the Point Roberts Heron Preservation Committee, he came into contact with the Fraser for Life Communications Society that the PRHPC then worked with.
In July 1990, Martin Keeley along with the Fraser for Life decided to create another company under the umbrella of the Communications Society, calling it the Friends of Boundary Bay. The intention was to get Martin Keeley to be the executive director of the organization. The Friends of Boundary Bay was an environmental advocacy group working to preserve the Boundary Bay area in Delta. It acted as a lobbyist for the preservation of the Boundary Bay area as a wildlife preserve, and for the prevention of golf course development in the area. The organization's activities in this area included attending Delta Council meetings, issuing press releases, and staging demonstrations. The organization also worked to launch interpretive programs and a mobile interpretive unit regarding the preservation of Boundary Bay. The organization also staged fundraisers, including a reading by W. P. Kinsella and a silent auction held December 15, 1990, and a "Blues for the Bay" benefit concert held February 15, 1991.
In October 1990, Martin Keeley accepted a position as an executive member of the Boundary Bay Conservation Committee. He worked closely with them on matters pertaining to the Boundary Bay area, wetlands and other environmental concerns that were linked with the PRHPC and the FOBB.
By 1991, Martin Keeley was heavily invested in at least three environmental groups around the Boundary Bay area. He remained active in most of them until his leave in 1998/1999. Other organizations that were in direct contact with Martin Keeley were the Fraser Wetlands Committee (FWC), the Delta Naturalists Society (DNS), the Burns Bog Conservation Society (BBCS), the Nature Trust of British Columbia, the Western Canada Wilderness Committee, the Vancouver Natural History Society, the Tsawwassen Nature Park Society, the Surrey/White Rock Naturalists and the Puget Sounders.
In 1998, Martin Keeley began looking for a replacement for his position as Executive Director of the Friends of Boundary Bay. His other organizations had slowly given control to other people. By the end of 1998, he had replaced himself and began his departure for the Cayman Islands.
In 1999, following Keeley's departure, the Friends of Boundary Bay changed its name to the B.C. Wetlands Society to reflect its changing role in education and research involving wetlands ecosystems. By 2000-2001, the funding for the organization had significantly decreased and the organization's research and programs were integrated into other organizations duties.
Martin Keeley has continued his environmental activism following his move to the Cayman Islands in 1998. He taught environmental science at a college level in the Cayman Islands before he developed and implemented the Mangrove and Reef Curriculum with teachers, NGOs and Education Ministries worldwide. Martin has been International Education Director for the Mangrove Action Project (MAP) for 13 years, and will continue much of his work in that position. More information can be found at www.mangrovesandreefs.org.ky or through articles collected and placed in accession folders for 2010-029.