Salmon Spawner Surveying

This fall you can help PSPS by looking for returning Chum and Coho salmon in Spanish Banks Creek and Acadia/Salish Creek.  The best time to look for salmon is during high tide when the fish can reach the stream.  All you need to do is stand on the bridge or trail and watch the stream quietly for 5-10 minutes (or more, if you like).  If you happen to see an adult salmon you can take a photo of it (if possible), make note of the time and share it with us at volunteer@pacificspiritparksociety.org.

Chum Salmon

EARLY RUN: late July through late September

LATE RUN: late September through November

Coho Salmon

EARLY RUN: late August through December

LATE RUN: January through February

Remember:  Keep dogs and feet out of the stream and stay on the designated trail or bridges to view the stream.  

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PEOPLE OF PACIFIC SPIRIT PARK SOCIETY: David Bromley

David Bromley. We met on a cool, bright afternoon, full of late autumn sunshine. I was quick to identify the reasons people had spoken such fond words about him as he greeted me in a crowded coffee shop, his hand extended, a yellow mug balanced in the other, asking me my name. The confidence David exuded did not deter my shock. After a few formal introductory emails, and information that I had clearly misunderstood, I realized my critical mistake: David was not a volunteer of the Pacific Spirit Park Society (‘the Society’) for seventeen years, but a volunteer of seventeen years. The next half hour would prove the biggest nightmare for any interviewer, as I was forced to abandon my premeditated questions. However, something equally lovely happened: I found myself not needing that hackneyed script and became increasingly curious about this high school boy who gave up a lot of his free time to volunteer.

 

David juggles his role as Volunteer Leader at the Society, events for Sea Watch, seasonal work at an Equestrian Farm in Southlands and is also the head sound technician at his high school, working in the technical aspects of theatre production. He has also applied for a scholarship with Metro Vancouver Regional Parks for youth leadership – something the Society would love to see David flourish in. As part of the leadership team for PSPS, David guides groups of volunteers, ensures they are handling tools safely and correctly, and helps them complete the day’s assigned task. The thing I found myself really wanting to know was why. Why come out every week, away from family and friends, to tramp around in a large, musty park? David, humble and obliging, said he started volunteering for the Society simply because it was something to do. Weekends for David in his early high school days had plenty of room to fill, and he explained further: “it felt nice to be part of an organization on some mission. I liked the stuff we were doing. I enjoyed the restoration and it felt like we were helping the park and helping people use the park.”

As our conversation continued, I discovered he was both clever and pragmatic.

“The Society has made some good choices,” he informed me, such as “making the tasks more and more large mission orientated as opposed to individual changes every day. It’s good for a low level volunteer perspective to see it as mission orientated.”

He was sitting in front me: layers and layers of blue like a cloudless sky, the combinations endless. The crystal blue of his eyes disappeared under long lashes, head bent forward over a sky blue buttoned shirt, accompanied by a baby blue puff jacket. When I heard David talk I thought of what it feels like to volunteer myself, this mix of purpose and fulfillment, time spent doing things you love, not needing monetary exchange to give it value. The value already inherent in the act.

“I think the thing with volunteering is the feeling you are doing something terribly important,” he said, voicing my thoughts, then bringing it back to the Park: “especially with the mapping and the water monitoring, because to me that feels like data gathering and helping research. Ecological restoration in all forms is valuable…we are collecting data and it feels nice that the data you are collecting is going in at least some capacity to someone to use for research purposes.”

I commended him on his efforts, telling him he is valiant in this altruistic attitude. He encouraged people to join the Society and described they had a few regulars but generally there was a high turnover of volunteers, the majority being made up of UBC (university) and St George (high school) students. The time commitment is understandably difficult, especially after people graduate. David is in his last year at Prince of Wales High. I asked him what he wants to do when he graduates and cringed: I hated getting asked this and remember only too well the mundane pressure, the desperate inability to forecast a career, the vultures that circle when you become too introspective. But David is looking beyond the local paddocks. He has eyes for East Coast or American universities that don’t require you to elect a Major until the second year, thus offering him greater freedom for a little while longer.

“Right now I’m sticking with a Math based focus,” he told me. “But I like the more social aspects of sciences as well: how it connects to policy. That interests me. I say Mathematics because I’m interested in it but it’s hard for me to rectify that with also liking governmental policy and how that is influenced by scientific thinking and research…That is one of the things I look forward to in university: the ability to explore different avenues. More so then anything else that is the most valuable thing to me.”

This clear articulation inspired in me a desire to have had David’s certainty around something that in its very nature is uncertain: the future.

 

Towards the end of our chat, when we were winding down, David said he had an interesting and useful story for me. I chirped in anticipation. And so he told me how he found out about the Society in the first place, in 2014, through a school tutoring program, Brain Boost. “I joined along for the day … removing ‘invasives’ and it stuck with me, and then I remember a year later I thought: ‘how could I get involved in that?’ I guess the message for that is I think it is valuable for some sort of involvement – trying to get schools to get out – I don’t know how viable that is. But I didn’t know it existed beforehand.”

 

He also gave me a new perspective, something I had not really recognizing before. He talked about how the new developments going up were more and more a reflection of the Park, tall wood buildings scaling to Vancouver’s big skies when the clouds weren’t sitting there, bellies full of rain. All that wood: the raw and the planed, the creaking and the polished. I loved the thought of how they could mirror each other, one side crafted by nature, the other side crafted by man. Even drinking our coffees we were surrounded by wood: the spirit of the park never far from our consciousness.

“It’s important for the UBC community. It really makes the whole UBC architecture work. A lot of the new architecture is very environmentally focused … new uses of woods. To a greater extent just the general feel of the UBC area and the greater Endowment Lands; I think the park is very important to its style. That’s what I like. I think I appreciate the Park first for just being there, almost, as opposed to being a bunch of residential buildings.”

I loved the small answer David gave me when I asked what his favorite thing about the Park was; apart from liking that it was maintained. Sometimes things are best when they are put simply: “it’s beautiful.

Written by Ruby Ewens

Photo: Andre-Phillip Picard

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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.

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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!

 

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Natural Playgrounds

Pacific Spirit Regional Park is one of the last places in Vancouver where children can play in nature.  However, each year when we survey the park’s illegal trails we find more and more areas around elementary schools being impacted by off trail play.

What are your ideas for balancing nature play and ecological restoration?

Share your thoughts with us on Twitter, Facebook or by email at volunteer@pacificspiritparksociety.org.

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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!

Print

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Rained Out – May 28th

Hello PSPS Volunteers,

Just a note that the:

  • Invasive Plant Mapping 9:00-12:00
  • Camosun Boggers 9:00-12:00
  • Invasive Plant Removal 1:00-4:00

will ALL be CANCELLED today due to lousy weather.

I hope to see you next week!

Krista

Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 1.39.05 PM

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Join the Pacific Spirit Park Society Invasive Plant Removal Team!

SATURDAYS FROM 1:00-4:00

Email us at volunteer@pacificspiritparksociety.org for more information.

Yummy Snacks!
Yummy Snacks!
Before...
Before…
and after!
and after!
A bit of fun
A bit of fun
and some hard work
and some hard work!
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Two Minute Video Break – Learn Something New about Invasive Plants!

Take a minute to check out this video on why invasive plants threaten the environment.  You can also learn why English Holly is a particular threat in Pacific Spirit Regional Park by watching another short video.

Thanks for all your support keeping the park healthy!  We could not do it without you!

PrintPacific Spirit Park Society

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