Margaret Lidkea, Chair of the Friends of Uplands Park Society, recounts the story of the liberation of a Grandparent Garry Oak from invasive plants and the work of restoration of the ecosystem around this Garry Oak that has been accomplished by students from Willows Park working with the Friends of Uplands Park.
An archival aerial photo from the 1920’s shows this oak and a nearby native Black hawthorn tree in a plowed field with no other plants. You can see how dark it is underneath, preventing plants that need light from growing. The trees surrounding the oak are invasive Norway maples whose canopy prevents enough sun from reaching the ground. The only plants underneath were English ivy and Daphne laureolaaka “Stinky rat food plant”.
The big branch growing west covered the West trail. It was easy to see the smaller branch that grew NW down to the ground. We think it may have been a“Treaty Tree branch”. The 1st Nations, without a written language, had the tradition of sealing contracts or treaties by taking a branch of a young Garry oak tree down to the ground and placing a large rock on top so that it grew that way. There are 3 documented Treaty Trees in the Uplands and at least 1 other in another yard.
In the Fall of 2015, a few classes from Willows Elementary cut down many of the native but invasive snowberry bushes and removed the English ivy underneath. I removed the Daphne laureola because its toxicity and poisonous factor made it inappropriate for school children to remove. This photo is just after the invasive Norway maples and European ash were removed, summer 20
In summer 2016, a big branch pointing south fell down. In the Fall, more of the invasive plants were removed. The stump from the branch that fell grew many twigs of oak leaves. Will it regrow?
Summer of 2017, the biggest branch fell down and so did the Treaty branch. The branches were left on the ground to provide habitat for animals and also niches for plants. Fall 2017, more Willows School classes became involved in removing invasive ivy and also sawing down young Norway maple and English hawthorn trees. They also started to plant native species and scatter seeds. Students are creating a Garry oak meadow almost from scratch. Some of the green plants in the foreground are an endangered dense-flowered willowherb growing from seeds thrown by students.
Fall 2018, about 20 Willows’ classes are removing invasive ivy, planting about $1500 of native plants purchased from Saanich Native Plant Nursery with donations, and sowing “seed bombs” made in class with seeds from native plants that will hopefully grow.
Thanks to all the volunteers who came out to The Great Rip Off in Uplands Park on October 13th, 2018. Such a beautiful day to be in the Park and great mounds of ivy were collected. For those who missed all the fun today, it is all happening again, Sunday, Oct 14th, from 1-4pm. Meet at grassy entrance to Cattle Point on Beach Drive. Tools and gloves and snacks. Family friendly. Hoping some Oak Bay Council Candidates show up too. Photos by Kathleen Matthews.
All welcome/encouraged to help remove Ivy from Uplands Park. Saturday & Sunday, October 13 & 14th, 2018. from 1-4pm. Meet at the Beach Drive Entrance to Cattle Point. [The annual FOUP Broom Bash is now re-invented as the annual Great Rip Off with the focus on IVY. ]
Join Friends of Uplands Park to remove the extreme invasive carpet burweed on Cattle Point. Although small, it can cover and destroy the colourful wildflowers. Prickly seeds in May and June stick on shoes, clothes, fur and dog paws to spread to your yard and to sports fields. This is a real nasty weed. We need your help to weed. [Text and poster by Margaret Lidkea, FOUP Steering Committee Chair.]
Great turnout for the Friends of Uplands Park weekly “No Ivy League” volunteer opportunity on Sunday, February 25-2018. Thanks to the 25 volunteers who braved the blustery day. Photos courtesy of Wylie Thomas.
Friends of Uplands Park: Invitation and Call for Volunteers – Fall 2017
Dear Friends of Uplands Park
We are trying to remove invasive plants and to reduce the Fire Load in Uplands Park. There are several plants including regular invasive plants but also invasive trees like European Elm, European Ash, English Hawthorn, Norway Maple and others that produce more biomass that we are removing each year. This causes concern because of the potential wildfires in the park that may spread to residential homes.
Many of these trees are gradually being removed by Oak Bay Parks. WE NEED YOUR HELP TO REMOVE INVASIVE BUSHES like Daphne and other destructive plants like English ivy.
PLEASE HELP US to remove invasive plants this year. You are welcome to join us any Sunday from 1 to 3pm for the NO IVY LEAGUE that starts this Sunday and goes until the end of November.
The ANNUAL IVY BROOM BASH will be on Saturday Oct 14 and Sunday Oct 15. This is an excellent opportunity to help your community and your natural environment, the globally endangered Garry Oak Ecosystem. Families benefit from getting outdoors together and having lots of fun. Students can earn their volunteer hours by participating.
A public meeting will be held on Thursday Oct 5 at Windsor Pavilion from 7 to 9 on Restoration in Upland Park: Management Plans; what has been done and projected to be done over the next 2 years. The first half will be a report by Wylie Thomas, and the second half will be a discussion about the challenges and possible solutions. We invite the public to speak and share their thoughts.
Tree Appreciation Day on Sun Nov 5 will involve planting Garry oaks and other plants at the Midland entrance.
Remember our regular monthly Bird Walks by Geoffrey Newell will be on the last Saturday of each month unless posted otherwise on our website or Facebook: friendsofuplandspark.org
School programs will be starting towards the end of September in Uplands Park, Anderson Hill and Trafalgar Park. Contact Margaret for information which will also be emailed to schools soon.
Friends of Uplands Park volunteer, Wylie Thomas has provided a link to the Shaw TV South Vancouver Island “Community Producers” YouTube video story featuring a group of Friends of Uplands Park No Ivy League volunteers who were interviewed and filmed while working at Cattle Point on Sunday, February 26, 2017. Wylie asked, as part of this FOUP blog post, to also mention:
….. the critical role played by Oak Bay Parks (aka Chris Hyde-Lay and his staff) in protecting this important part of our natural heritage. Their in-kind contributions are a very important part of the HSP project (invasives disposal, native plant purchases, arborist time, trails and signage) and they have been bent over backwards to help make our work a success. Without their support none of this would be happening.
The SHAW TV video, posted to YouTube on March 7, 2017, features Friends of Uplands Park Chair, Margaret Lidkea, and volunteers Wylie Thomas, Ron Carter and others, who share their experiences and motivations and discuss the importance of the Garry Oak Ecosystem restoration work that is being accomplished at Cattle Point.
Shaw TV YouTube Caption: Published on Mar 7, 201 Rare & endangered species are found in a few small pockets on the South Island like Uplands Park & Cattle Point. The Friends of Uplands Park are hoping to bring some of these Garry Oak species back by removing invasive plants and sectioning off some of the areas that these rare species have been found.
Lorraine Scollan, Community Access Producer, Programming, SHAW TV, noted in her email to Wylie, that the interview-video segment was to be aired on Friday afternoons, on Channel 4, and would be repeated for perhaps two weeks, on the “Community Producers” program, whose schedule can be viewed at https://www.shaw.ca/ShawTV/Victoria/. The video of the Friends of Uplands Park story has also been posted to Shaw TV’s Twitter feed [March 7-2017] at www.twitter.com/ShawTV_SVI . The video will also be posted on the Shaw TV Facebook page, perhaps under the video section at www.facebook.com/goislandsouth .
Wylie Thomas, Oak Bay Parks & FOUP Steering Committee Member, sends the following:
The picture below shows the most recent truckload of ivy and daphne removed from Cattle Point. Since September 2016, Oak Bay staff and volunteers have removed more than 120 cubic yards of ivy from the woods on the ocean side of the scenic ring road at Cattle Point. This work is being funded in part by the federal Habitat Stewardship Program (HSP) as part of a three-year program to protect critical habitat for endangered plants of which there are six in the meadows of Cattle Point. An important contributing factor to the success of the HSP application is the high level of community support, coordinated by FOUP, in the form of volunteer hours to remove invasive plants and deliver outreach programs directed at increasing awareness of the park’s rare ecosystems and endangered species.
Wylie Thomas, on behalf of the Friends of Uplands Park, describes the successful “Planting & Invasive Ivy Removal” event held in Uplands Park on December 4, 2016. The event was a collaboration of the Friends of Uplands Park Planting and the Greater Victoria Green Team.
We had a great volunteer event with Victoria’s Green Team on Sunday. I counted 22 people, but there may have been more. We split into two groups: one group worked on ivy on the ocean side of the Cattle Point loop road, while the second group helped plant native forbs and sedges in our restoration plot.
Here’s what we planted..
54 Western Buttercup
36 Western Rush
54 Common Woodrush
72 Barestem Desert-parsley
4 Field Chickweed
18 Yampah (Perideridia gairdneri)
50 Thick-headed Sedge (Carex pachystachya)
72 Graceful Cinquefoil (Potentilla gracilis)
18 Douglas’ Aster
50 Hare Sedge (Carex ovalis)
100 Selfheal (Prunella vulgaris ssp. lanceolata)
36 Fool’s Onion (Triteleia hyacinthina)
20 1-gallon pots of Great Camas bulbs (about 100 bulbs)