Summer Solstice

SUMMERTIME!

Summer solstice has past and summer is officially here!  Even though the days will start to get shorter, we are just beginning to enjoy the warmer weather.

We are looking forward to a busy summer in the park.  Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Partnering with a youth settlement group (South Vancouver Neighbourhood House) to introduce new immigrants and refugees to Canadian wildlife and ecosystems
  • Testing out activities and lessons from our new EcoKITS with Eagles in the Sky (Britannia Community Services)
  • Removing invasives Holly from the Acadia Forest Restoration site with the EcoTEAM
  • Counting aquatic invertebrates (insects) at Spanish Creek with StreamKeepers, Catch the Spirit youth and Nature Kids members
  • Piloting our new EcoWATCH monitoring programs out with volunteers

We hope that you have a chance to explore a new trail in the park or come out to one of our Saturday EcoTEAM events from 1:00-4:00.

Acadia Forest Restoration Project

The PSPS EcoTEAM is launching a new restoration project!

HISTORY: The Acadia Forest has a long history of disruption.  In 1930 and then again in 1951, the Acadia Forest on either side of Chancellor Boulevard was cleared to make way for development.  Thanks to a very dedicated group of citizens, the construction project did not go through and in 1989, much of the UBC Endowment lands became a regional park.

PROBLEM #1: Deciduous trees, including Black Cottonwood, Red Alder and Big-leaf Maple quickly established in the cleared site following the clearing.  However, the conifer seed source was removed during clearing, creating an unnatural growth pattern in the area.  Deciduous trees usually start to die after 60-80 years, just as the conifer trees start to take over.  With only a hand full of conifers, the Acadia Forest is missing the next generation of trees!

PROBLEM #2: Disturbed sites often are perfect areas of invasive plants to spread quickly and the Acadia Forest is no exception.  The area is covered with invasive English Holly, as well as Himalayan Blackberry, English Ivy and English Laurel.

RESTORATION: Over the summer the PSPS EcoTEAM will be removing the invasive plants.  Then, to encourage the natural forest succession and to outcompete the invasive plants as they return, we will be planting conifer trees and shrubs in fall.

SUPPORT:  This project would not be possible without the support of:

  • Pacific Parklands Foundation
  • Metro Vancouver Regional Parks
  • Vancouver Park Board

GET INVOLVED: Sign up for an event today on MeetUp.

Spring Songs

North Country 

In the north country now it is spring and there

is a certain celebration. The thrush

has come home. He is shy and likes the

evening best, also the hour just before

morning; in that blue and gritty light he

climbs to his branch, or smoothly

sails there.  It is okay to know only

one song if it is this one. Hear it

rise and fall; the very elements of your soul

shiver nicely.  What would spring be

without it?  Mostly frogs.  But don’t worry, he

arrives, year after year, humble and obedient

and gorgeous.  You listen and you know

you could live a better life than you do, be

softer, kinder.  And maybe this year you will

be able to do it.  Hear how his voice

rises and falls.  There is now way to be

sufficiently grateful for the gifts we are

given, though do try, and

especially now, as that dapples breast

breathes in the pines and heaven’s

windows in the north country, now spring has come,

are open wide.

~ By Mary Oliver

What songs are you hearing in the Park these days?

 

 Photos: Pacific Tree Frog & Tree Swallows at Jericho Beach Park taken by Linda Mueller

Spring Wonders

What wonders are you discovering in Pacific Spirit Regional Park these days?  

Here is a little look at a few native plants in the Park and and some of their medicinal uses.

Remember: Absolutely no harvesting of any kind is allow in Regional Parks.  Please use your garden or a community garden as place to grow and harvest these wonderful native plants.  

Red Elderberry Sambucus racemosa

Dried red elderberries make a delicious immune-busting tea.  

Salmonberry Rubus spectabilis

The ripening of the salmonberries in May & June is often associated with the upward-spiraling song of Swainson’s thrush.   The berries are delicious and the bark and leaves were used to help relieve digestive troubles.

Stinging Nettle Urtica dioica L.

Although this plant can cause terrible irritation if touched, it makes a lovely tea and is high in iron.

Baldhip Rose Rosa gymnocarpa

The young leaves and twigs were used to make a healing tonic by many northwest coast First Nations.  The dried rose hips also make a lovely tea.  

Scouler’s Willow Salix scouleriana

There are 35 different types of willows in the Pacific Northwest.  Willows are high in vitamin C and have anti-inflamatory and pain relieving properties.

Indian Plum Oemleria cersiformis

The fruit of the Indian plum is small and very bitter until very ripe, but is high in vitamin C, iron and potassium.  It should only be used in very small quantities.

 

Interview with PSPS Program Coordinator: Krista Voth

This week Chris Ma and Brady Sprague from Saint George’s Senior School interviewed Krista, the PSPS Program Coordinator. Here are parts of those interviews:

Chris: When you were an adolescent, what organization did you volunteer for? Did you do anything more than volunteering?

Krista: As an adolescent growing up in Winnipeg, Manitoba I volunteered at a retirement home. I visited the residents and led bingo events. I really enjoyed getting to know many of the residents and hearing some great stories. Aside from my volunteer work, I did lots of babysitting in my neighbourhood.

Brady:  What animals do you notice in the park when you’re out walking?

Krista: Pacific Spirit Regional Park has a huge variety of birds because of the range of ecosystems represented. The wetlands, streams, forests, meadows and shorelines all provide important habitat for both year round resident birds and migrating birds. We also frequently see salamanders in the forests and salmon fry in the streams.

Brady: In your mind, what impacts do these animals have on the park?

Krista: The birds spread seeds throughout the park, which can have both positive and negative impacts on the park.   Birds help maintain native plant biodiversity and encourage forest growth when they spread native plant seeds.   However, birds also spread invasive plants seed throughout the park. That is one reason why it is so important for PSPS and local gardeners to remove invasive plants from the park and their yards.

Brady: What do you notice about the way people treat the park?

Krista: I notice that most people make efforts to care for the park by picking up after their dogs, reporting invasive plants or fallen logs, staying on the trail and not harvesting the vegetation. However, I see evidence that some people explore off trail, let their dogs off leash in environmentally sensitive areas or leave their dog waste along the trail. Even though only a small percent of park users don’t follow the park rules, it has a big environmental impact.

Brady: Why is it important to remove invasive plants from our parks?

Krista: Invasive plants have no natural competition in the areas where they are introduced. The pests, diseases and plant diversity in their origin country all help to keep nature in balance. When there are no diseases or pests to help keep the balance, these introduced plants spread very fast and take over large areas of the park. This reduces the amount of space, light and nutrients for other plants.

Chris: How can I contribute to PSPS if I do not have time to volunteer?

Krista: If you do not have time to volunteer, you can spread the word about the importance of park etiquette, such as staying on the trails, keeping dogs on leash in environmentally sensitive areas and cleaning up after your dog in the park.   Also donations are always welcome to help run our programs!

Brady: What keeps you motivated to continue helping the park?

Krista: Seeing the dedication and enthusiasm of the volunteers is the biggest motivation for me!

 

Night Quest 2017

  • Saturday March 25, 2017
    7:00 PM – 9:30 PM

    at Pacific Spirit Regional Park
    Meet at Park Centre on 16th Ave, 400 m west of Blanca St

    Screen Shot 2017-01-20 at 11.12.45 AM

    Nature at night is a magical experience. Wander 2 km of lantern-lit trails and explore like owls, squirrels, coyotes and other nocturnal critters.

    Bring a flashlight or lantern and a mug for the cash-only concession. Trails are wheelchair and stroller accessible. Allow 1.5 hours to complete.

    Presented by Metro Vancouver with Pacific Spirit Park Society

    FREE

    Drop by anytime

    ALL AGES

    Photos: Bruce McPherson

Nature Fun for February

It may be too snowy to run our restoration events, but there are plenty of great opportunities to get into nature in the Metro Vancouver area this month.

Thursday, February 9
Vanier Park Birding
This is a half day field trip covering Vanier Park and West to Kits Beach pool. Expect to see Sea Ducks, Grebes, and sparrows. Beginner birders welcome. 9 am, meet at the Totem Pole on the path behind The Maritime Museum. There is limited free parking in the area. Leader Adrian 604 263 7957.
Organized by Nature Vancouver refer to www.naturevancouver.ca

Thursday, February 9, 7:30 p.m 
Photogrammetry of Cetaceans
Dr. Lance Barrett-Lenard
In recent years, Dr. Lance Barrett Lenard, along with colleagues, has been studying cetaceans from the air – with a drone specially equipped with a camera. Photographing and videoing whales from above is providing valuable information on body condition, size and behaviours that are impossible to observe in any other way, with neglible impact on the animals being studied. Dr. Lance Barrett- Lenard is the Senior Research Scientist at the Vancouver Aquarium’s Cetacean Research Lab.
held at the Unitarian Centre at 949 West 49th Avenue (at Oak Street), Vancouver.
Organized by Nature Vancouver refer to www.naturevancouver.ca

Friday – February 10
Nature Walk at Campbell Valley Regional Park
Join Gareth Pugh to walk the network of trails through this regional park with its diversity of habitats and wildlife. Bring some seed to feed the birds and squirrels and check out all the different trees that can be found there. Meet at 9:00 am in the 16th Avenue parking lot.
Please phone 604-576-6831 for information and to let us know to expect you.
Organized by Langley Field Naturalists

Saturday, Feb 11 (2 – 3:30pm)
Bear Creek Wildlife Walk
Search for signs of wildlife in this park’s diverse meadow, forest, and creek habitats. Look for the eagle nest, check out wildlife trees, and take a peek in the creek – who will you see? Meet at the south edge of the parking lot, in front of the water park. Ages 10+, rain or shine. For more information, call 604-502-6065 or visit www.surrey.ca/parks.

Bear Creek Park (13750 – 88 Ave)

FAMILY FUN DAYS
February 11~13, 11:00 am~4:00 pm
Richmond Nature Park, 11851 Westminster Highway, Richmond
Come to the Richmond Nature Park for some adventurous family fun! Explore the bog through special family scavenger and treasure hunts. Check out a display about the Northern Spotted Owl – one of Canada’s most endangered species.
Admission is by donation. Proceeds support the Richmond Nature Park Society’s environmental education programs.
This event is suitable for all ages.

Family Day At Fort Langley National Historic Site
February 13, 2017 @ 10:00 Am~5:00 Pm
Celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday for free and experience a day in the life of a fur trader family. Participate in 1800s chores, watch an historic weapons demonstration take part in a nature walk and find out what life was like for a family living at Fort Langley. Take a picture in our photo booth, feed the animals, watch blacksmith and barrel-making demonstrations, fire a reproduction musket between 11 am and 3 pm (small fee), and join in on the fun with our new family scavenger hunt.

Family Day Campfire | all ages
Mon, February 13, 12:30~3:30 pm
PACIFIC SPIRIT REGIONAL PARK
Drop by for a cozy campfire and learn about plants and animals through story and song.
Meet at 16th Ave parking lot, 400 m west of Blanca St.
FREE Drop by anytime.

For the Love of Nature | all ages
Mon, February 13, 11 am~2 pm
BURNABY LAKE & CAMPBELL VALLEY REGIONAL PARKs
Celebrate nature with family and loved ones this Family Day weekend.
Enjoy arts and crafts activities that expand your ability to observe and appreciate nature.
Meet at the Nature House. FREE Drop by anytime.

For the Love of Nature
Monday, February 13, 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Campbell Valley Regional Park
Meet at the Nature House.
Celebrate nature with family and loved ones this Family Day weekend.  Enjoy arts and crafts activities that expand your ability to observe and appreciate nature.
All ages. Free. Drop by anytime. 604-432-6359, programs.info@metrovancouver.org

Wednesday – February 15
Nature Walk at Sumas Prairie
Join Wim Vesseur to travel through the beautiful pastoral Fraser Valley which is an overwintering location for many raptors!  We will be looking for birds of prey – such as the Red-tailed Hawk, Harlan’s Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel and Rough-legged Hawks plus any surprises we find along the way!  We will warm up after with warm drinks at a restaurant. Meet at 9:00 am at McDonalds, 34618 Delair Road, Abbotsford, off Hwy 1 exit no.92, off Sumas Way North. Please phone 604-534-3447 for information and to let us know to expect you.
Organized by Langley Field Naturalists

Thursday, February 16
What will we use the forests for
John Innes
Description of talk: British Columbia’s forests have traditionally been seen solely as a source of wood (for lumber and pulp), with minor attention being paid to recreation. This approach will have to change due to a number of internal and external pressures, including decreasing timber supplies, changing demands from an increasingly urbanized population, and changes in global wood trade patterns. Forests will play a major role in a future bio-economy, should Canada decide to pursue this. Whether or not this approach is taken, the importance of forests for biodiversity, water, soil protection, and a range of cultural and social benefits is likely to be increasingly recognized.
About the speaker: John Innes is Dean of the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia. He has taught a range of courses including forest management, international forestry and tropical forest ecology. His research currently focusses on the adaptation of forests and forest-dependent peoples to climate change.
at 7:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Church, 49th at Oak, Vancouver.
Organized by Nature Vancouver refer to www.naturevancouver.ca

Saturday, February 18, 10:00am
Garry Point Park/West Dyke
Loop around Garry Point Park and continue along the West Dyke trail while taking in the spectacular views of the Gulf Islands and Coastal Mountains.
Meeting spot: Garry Point concession stand, 12011 7th Avenue.
www.richmond.ca/walk

Derby Tales Round the Campfire | all ages
Saturday, February 18, noon~3 pm
DERBY REACH REGIONAL PARK
Gather round a crackling campfire for tales of nature and life in the wilderness. Bake bannock and bring a mug for hot chocolate.
Meet across road from Heritage Area on Allard Cres, north of 96th Ave and 4 km west of Fort Langley.
FREE Drop by anytime.

Saturday, February 18
Birding at Colony Farm
Colony Farm RP is home to many over wintering raptors, sparrows, waterfowl and usually a Northern Shrike or two. Come discover what species the park has to offer on this year’s half-day outing. Meet at the parking area at the south end of Colony Farm Rd. in Coquitlam at 0900. Larry Cowan 604-307-0931.
Organized by Nature Vancouver refer to www.naturevancouver.ca

March 18, 10am – 1pm
Earthwise Society’s family-friendly Rain Day is a free event that will be held during Spring Vacation at the Earthwise Garden at 6400 3rd Avenue, in Delta (near Centennial Beach).

The event is kid-focused and will feature a children’s entertainer, an interactive dance, rainstick crafts, and a water band. There will be a Rain Sculpture contest that community members can vote in as well as a chance to walk around Earthwise’s organic garden. Kids can wear and show off their favourite rain gear and umbrellas. We aim to make rain more fun and to increase appreciation of its ecosystem benefits in our coastal temperate rainforest! Everyone is welcome.

Saturday, February 25, 9 am
Jericho Park Birding
This is a half day field trip covering the ponds and foreshore. Meet at the West entrance to the Park at N.W Marine Drive and Discovery Street. There is limited free parking in the area plus public transit. Washrooms available along the route. Leader: Adrian 604 263 7957.
Organized by Nature Vancouver refer to www.naturevancouver.ca

Saturday – February 25
Nature Walk at Brydon Lagoon, Langley
Join Al Grass and Annabel Griffiths to look for the many waterfowl, raptors, and other birds that call this wetland their home in winter and learn more about how LFN are working with the City of Langley to improve this valuable urban park.  Meet at the 53rd Avenue parking lot near 198A Street, Langley at 9:00 am.
Please phone 604 538 8774 or 604-530-2778 for information and to let us know to expect you. Organized by Langley Field Naturalists

Raptor Watch | ages 9+
Sat, February 25, 10 am~noon
BOUNDARY BAY REGIONAL PARK
View raptors through a spotting scope as they hunt in and around the bay. Test your raptor smarts at the birds of prey display.
Meet at Boundary Bay Dyke Trail at 72nd Ave.
Presented with Delta Naturalists and Langley Field Naturalists. FREE Drop by anytime.

Sunday, February 26
Birding walk along Fraser River and Sturgeon Banks
Join Kelly Sekhon for a birding walk along Fraser River and Sturgeon Banks in Richmond. Meet at 9 am at Tim Hortons on #3 Road across the street from Aberdeen station of Canada Line SkyTrain. Bring a lunch and a hot drink and change for bus fare. Dress for cold and windy weather.
We will walk all the way to Garry point (10 km) and take the bus back to Aberdeen Station. For more information, please contact Kelly kellysekhon@yahoo.com  by email only. Cell phone 778-979-0558 for last minute updates. Note: Parking for all day may be a problem so use transit or park somewhere in town and then take Canada Line to Aberdeen station.
Organized by Nature Vancouver refer to www.naturevancouver.ca

Cammidge House Heritage Day | all ages
Sun, February 26, 1~4 pm
BOUNDARY BAY REGIONAL PARK
Join us at Cammidge House to get a peek into the local history. Enjoy tea and baked goods. Meet at Cammidge House.
Presented by Boundary Bay Park Association. FREE Drop by anytime.
———————————————————————————–


Thursday, March 2
Madagascar – The “Eighth Continent”
Peter Candido
Because of its isolation from other land masses for about 90 million years, Madagascar is one of the most biologically distinct regions on earth.  Approximately 90% of its animal and plant species are endemic.  Madagascar is home to five endemic bird families, an endemic primate family, the lemurs, of which there are over 100 species, more than 260 species of reptiles, 266 species of amphibians and a remarkable diversity of invertebrates.
Join Peter for a comprehensive birding and wildlife tour covering all major habitats of this amazing island.
at 7:30 p.m. in the Parish Hall of St. Mary’s (Kerrisdale) Anglican Church, 2490 West 37th Avenue (at Larch Street), Vancouver.
Organized by Nature Vancouver refer to www.naturevancouver.ca


Friday, March 3

Nature Walk at 8th Avenue Trail
Join Bob Puls to walk the section of the South Langley Regional Trail from 256th Street to 264th Street. This is a fairly new trail, recently completed by the Back Country Horsemen, as the last link between the Campbell Valley and Aldergrove Regional Parks. The trail is nicely gravelled all the way, with wooded sections interspersed by stream valleys crossed by a couple of brand new bridges, and a variety of open and closed habitat. Meet at 9:00 am at 1062 – 256th Street.
lease phone 604-856-7534 for information and to let us know to expect you.
Organized by Langley Field Naturalists


Saturday, March 4, 10:00am
Burkeville Park–Sea Island
Stroll through the historic community of Burkeville on foot exploring this neighbourhood’s unique characteristics.
Meeting spot: Burkeville Park playground (between Airport Drive and Catalina Crescent).
www.richmond.ca/walk