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October Eco Blitz Restoration

The Eco Team will be working hard over the next few weeks to prepare the 2016 Pacific Spirit Regional Park Eco Blitz site for planting.  Once covered in invasive Scotch Broom and Himalayan Blackberry, this site will soon become a lovely native forest with lots of plant diversity with a little help from you.

Scotch broom may be pretty, but it quickly becomes the only plant in sight.  Plant diversity is very important in ecosystems because it provides a variety of wildlife with habitat and a source of food.

Plus, Scotch broom is invasive.  That means that it is not native to BC, spreads very fast and does not have natural ecological competitors, such as insects and other plants that can help stop this plant in it’s tracks.

That is why we need you to help us finish removing the scotch broom on October 8th and 15th.

Then, on October 22nd and 29th the Eco Team will be planting 1000’s of trees to help out-complete the scotch broom and provide a home and food to lots of birds and forest animals again.

Find out more or sign up on our Events Calendar or on Meet Up.

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September Eco Team Restoration Site

BIG CHANGES

for Better Wildlife Habitat

img_4383If you visit Pacific Spirit Regional Park at Crown and West 22nd Avenue you might notice some big changes.  Over the past month, a excavator and many dedicated volunteers with Metro Vancouver Regional Parks Ecological Restoration Team and Pacific Spirit Park Society Eco Team have worked hard to remove tonnes of Himalayan Blackberry and plant 500 native trees.

At the beginning of September the site was completely covered with 6 feet high Himalayan Blackberry thickets.  This invasive plant not only out competes native trees and shrubs, but creates an ideal environment for hidden dumped garbage and rats.

After the excavator removed the Himalayan Blackberry foliage, the PSPS Eco Team spent several weeks hand digging the extensive roots.  An enthusiastic and hard working grade 7 class from Immaculate Conception School, as well as staff from the Doctors of BC, also come out to remove roots and plant native trees.

Last Saturday, Metro Vancouver Ecological Restoration Team and PSPS Eco Team had over 75 volunteers attend the big planting event to plant the rest of the 500 native trees.  The Vancouver Park Board brought in a variety of species, including Douglas Fir, Western Red Cedar, Cascara, Vine Maple, Big Leaf Maple and Pacific Crabapple. Together, we have create a big change that will improve native plant biodiversity, increase habitat for birds and wildlife and grow into a beautiful forest for park users to enjoy for generations.

Thank you all for helping to improve our park, one invasive patch at a time!

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Welcome Back!

Hello to all of you who have been away this summer and to those of you who have are finding PSPS for the first time!

We have an exciting fall ahead of us with several wildlife habitat restoration projects, invasive plant mapping, water quality monitoring and nature education programming!

If you are curious to learn more about our programming and restoration projects, stop by our booth at the Wesbrook Village Festival or join in the environmental stewardship fun with the PSPS Eco Team this Saturday.

We hope to see you soon!

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Critter Capers- The Case Of The Missing Berries!

When, after months of patiently waiting for the berries to ripen, Cheryl the Chickadee expectantly returned to her berry bush- only to discover somebody else had already chowed down on every last juicy morsel, depriving her of her long awaited midsummer feast, the Pacific Spirit Park Society and Metro Vancouver were on the case. We opened the crime scene to young detectives, inviting them to track Cheryl’s wing beats around the park and visit information stations, brimming with evidence for them to scrutinise, along the way. Check out our video of the event!

Armed with their clue books, the participants could gather information, eliminate suspects and even complete a DNA test and inspect gruesome stomach contents samples, involving jars filled with plastic beetles, insects, berries, bones and feathers suspended in a watery solution. All in all, the ideal way to spend a day in the eyes of anyone between the ages of 5- 12 years old.

Or… so you might think!

During setting up the circuit, I found myself drifting happily from station to station- the general theme of my thoughts being ‘I would have LOVED this as a kid!’ After consistently and enthusiastically repeating this in my head for over an hour, the strong correlation between having fun at the event and not being a child forced me to adapt my statement. Thus, as the youngsters tackling the whereabouts of Cheryl’s berries began to arrive, I sense our restless energy and sparkling eyes matched one another as I greeted them with “I find this very exciting and I’m an adult!”

During one of my rounds I bonded with a lady, who I’d estimate was in her sixties, over stomach contents jars. She was one of the numerous lone adult stragglers, many of whom had just ‘stumbled upon’ the Critter Capers trail and decided they may as well follow it- you know- since they were there. These older investigators approached the stations somewhat shyly, as though embarrassed that they found the idea of dipping a piece of paper in some water, only to watch it flood with vivid colours and a sense of scientific achievement, too strong a lure to resist.

There were others, who were more confident in their hopeful lingering and exploration of the stations, coming up to poke the props and ask carefully constructed I-was-just-curious-and-I’m-not-even-really-that-interested questions. When asked if they’d like a turn with the DNA test, time and time again an irresistible smile would wrinkle their cheeks and they would reply with a thrilled “Ooohhhh yes please!” dispelling even the most convincing facades of disinterest.

I did not spend much time with many of the children, who paused only long enough to grasp the purpose of each station and conclude which suspect they could put a big cross through, based on the implications of what they’d learned there.

However, the inquisitive sixty-year-old and I, easily spent quarter of an hour closely examining each of the stomach contents samples and swapping observations.

“Racoons eat slugs?” she blinked in disbelief and readjusted her glasses to get a closer look “Wow!”

Critter Capers is an event I admire because it clearly has an effect on people which reverts them back to childhood, but seems to concentrate all the best parts of being new and fresh to the world. Eighteen and sixty-somethings can gaze in wonder and be amazed by the things you might find inside a tree-frogs belly. While the real kids get the opportunity to make positive connections with their local wildlife and regional parks.