Willows students help put 2,500 native plants into Oak Bay’s Uplands Park

Restoration of Garry oak ecosystem continues

Heavy restoration of the sensitive ecosystem at Uplands Park continued with help from École Willows elementary school students.

November is an ideal time for tree planting and invasive removals and throughout the month, students all the way from Kindergarten to Grade 5 visited to work on the park. It’s the fourth year of the school participating in the project with Uplands Park’s fearless stewards, Margaret Lidkea and Wylie Thomas, who have been instrumental in helping restore the park in partnership with the District of Oak Bay.

“In all we planted more than 2,500 plants sourced locally through Saanich Native Plants and sowed many hundreds of thousands of seeds collected from the park,” Thomas said.

While there is great promise showed, including surprising growth of the endangered plant Graceful cinquefoil, there is still much work ahead to restore one of the most endangered ecosystems in Canada, Lidkea said.

The biggest thing we can teach students is that they can make a difference, she added.

READ MORE: Uplands Park designated a national heritage site

“Students have removed invasive English ivy and other invasive plants, and then planted native species around a surviving 250-year-old Garry oak tree … a grandparent tree,” Lidkea said. “And now that the underbrush and Norway maple canopy is out, we’re finding Scotch broom babies growing that must go back 20-plus years.”

Parts of the area were plowed in the mid 1800s to grow grain for cattle (and likely vegetables) for the soldiers at Fort Victoria. Then it was left fallow. There’s even a 1920s photo in Oak Bay Archives showing the plowed field. In moved popular plants that early Uplands residents imported from England, such as English holly, One-seed Hawthorn, European ash, Norway and Sycamore maple, Thomas said.

“The understory was so dense and dark that little other than invasive Daphne (also known as Spurge Laurel) and English ivy survived,” Thomas said.

Lidkea calls the Daphne Laurel a toxic, stinky rat food plant. Yes there are rats in Uplands.

“These plants support rats and very few native animals,” Lidkea added.

This past week Oak Bay Parks planted four Garry oak trees (with Willows student help) and over $5,000 worth of native plants. Oak Bay purchased three of the oaklings while Sally Hallam’s kindergarten class from last year raised money from their Kindness of Trees calendar to pay for the fourth.

Some of the native species planted include: Nodding onion; Great Camas; Western buttercup; Red columbine; Woolly sunflower; Large-Leafed avens; Graceful cinquefoil; Sea blush; Shooting stars; Douglas’ Aster; Fool’s onion; and a mix of native sedges (grass-like plants); tall Oregon grape and Mock orange.

reporter@oakbaynews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Willows elementary students remove invasive species and plant native species in Uplands Park. (Margaret Lidkea Photo)

Just Posted

West Shore sees drop in traffic violations

The 315 violations in first six months of the year represent a 42 per cent decrease from 2018

UVic researchers develop industry-changing ‘hyper-glue’

‘Cross-linking’ technology already playing a role in performance body armour

Study on Malahat road closures expected by end of year

‘Vancouver Island traffic is like an hourglass,’ says vice-chair of CRD Traffic Safety Commission

Greater Victoria sees lowest rainfall numbers for November in decades

Only a third of the expected rainfall was seen across the Capital Region

More than a million square feet of rental units proposed for downtown Victoria development

The Harris Green development is proposed to take over two large lots on Yates Street

VIDEO: A brief history of bumps in the Trudeau-Trump relationship

Remember Peter Navarro saying ‘there’s a special place in hell’ for a foreign leader who aims to cheat?

POLL: Will you be donating to charities over the holiday season?

Many here in Victoria joined others around the world to take part… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 3

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Vancouver Island town to star in new Syfy series: Resident Alien

Ladysmith will play the role of Patience, Colorado in the series

Half of shoppers say they have no holiday spending budget

B.C. consumers surveyed estimate they will spend $921 this season

Opening day delayed at Mount Washington

Dec. 6 was set as opening day but will now be delayed due to lack of snow.

Province begins forfeiture of Shawnigan contaminated soil site

The forfeiture proceedings do not impact the closure plan for the landfill site

Man killed in crash due to ‘absolutely treacherous’ conditions on Coquihalla

Winter means icy roads are dangerous and drivers should be careful, RCMP say

Former Burns Lake mayor gets two years for sexual assaults against minors

The Crown is seeking four to six years federal time; the defence wants 18 months in provincial jail

Most Read