Naming rights to new lichen species up for sale

The naming rights to two lichen species discovered near Clearwater, B.C., are up for grabs — for a price.
Bidders can buy the rights to name these two new species of lichen. (CBC)

The naming rights to two lichen species discovered near Clearwater, B.C., are up for grabs — for a price.

Naturalist Trevor Goward made the discovery and according to scientific protocol it's up to him to name them — but Goward has taken the unusual step of auctioning off the naming rights to the highest bidder.

"It seems to me that people enjoy putting names on things. We name one another, we name our dogs, we name our cats, I mean that's what we do," he said. "So it seemed to me that this might be a way of actually raising some money."

Goward hopes to raise about $350,000 through the auction.

The money will go to two conservation projects — to help the Ancient Forest Alliance protect B.C.'s old  growth forests, and help the Land Conservancy buy private lands in the Clearwater Valley to expand Wells Gray Provincial park.

"Anybody who looks at a map of British Columbia soon realizes that there are lots of large protected areas in the province, but very few are in the southern part of British Columbia, or of Canada for that matter. Most of it is in the north," Goward said.

"But Wells Gray is just this enormous valley ... and as a protected area, it's internationally significant."

Bids are being accepted through the Ancient Forest Alliance or the Land Conservancy until Oct. 2.