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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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.

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April at a Glance

Spring is here!

Are you interested in getting outside or becoming involved with urban ecological restoration work?

Find out about what is happening in Pacific Spirit Regional Park this month!

You can visit our website calendar or MeetUp page for more information about the events in April.

You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter

or be added to our weekly email list.

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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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Once a horse stable

This fall PSPS planted over 2000 trees in a large restoration site along South West Marine Drive, in a site that was once covered in Scotch Broom and Himalayan Blackberries.

Why was this area so impacted by the spread of invasive plants?

The other week a park visitor came by to chat and mentioned that years ago the site held the horse stables for the milk delivery carts.  After the horse stables were no longer used, the site did not have any protection against the spread of invasive plants. If you have time, here is little video showing milk delivery with a horse drawn wagon in Vancouver many years ago.  Do you recognize any of the streets? My, how things have changed!

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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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