Walking down the stairs behind View Royal’s town hall, one gets a sense of entering a wooded wonderland.
Portage Park, perched at the south end of the municipality on the edge of Esquimalt Harbour – Thetis Cove to be exact – is a wild, seven-hectare gem featuring numerous plant and tree species, not to mention industrious spiders.
Amanda Evans is mindful of a couple of webs as she sidles up to a Douglas fir covered with English ivy for a photo. The program manager for the Greater Victoria Green Team is doing a little promo for the third community environmental event facilitated by her fledgling group: a native tree and shrub planting set for this Sunday (Sept. 14).
Evans is very familiar with this beautiful urban park. Before taking the job with the Green Team, she was a member of the Portage Park volunteer group that has worked hard the past two years to rid the area of invasive species through ivy pulls and other clearing activities.
“It needs a little bit of love and attention,” she says of the park. “Over 80 per cent of the park is covered in ivy.”
The team’s mandate is to collaborate with various environmental project co-ordinators in the Capital Region and help round up volunteers, through things like Meetup postings on social media, from the hundreds of people willing to get down and dirty to help native plant species.
Formed this year as an expansion of the hugely successful Green Team in Greater Vancouver, the Greater Victoria team aims to not only broaden the volunteer corps for all local stewardship groups, but raise awareness of area parks and help municipalities battle invasive species.
“There’s so many parks here I haven’t even been to,” Evans says.
“(The Portage Park event is) a way for people to not only find out about this beautiful park, but do something important for the environment.”
Sunday’s family friendly event is a joint initiative between the Town of View Royal, the Portage Park Eco-Pathfinders and the Ancient Forest Alliance. It runs from 9:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. Parking is available around the town hall, 45 View Royal Ave., and volunteers are asked to register there before entering the park.
Volunteers are asked to bring a refillable water bottle and wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants that you don’t mind if they get dirty, and closed-toed shoes to protect yourself from thorns and ticks. The Green Team will provide tools, and gloves if you don’t bring your own.
For more information, go online to bit.ly/1rYpmNa or call Evans at 778-677-9078.