Volunteers on the Go....Again
Welcome to another in our series Volunteers on the Go. In this episode you'll see our awesome volunteers tree planting along Shelly Creek, showing off our skills at Beach Day, and handing out yellow fish at the Rivers Edge Neighbourhood Information Session.
They Must Be Crazy
You wouldn't be wrong in asking why we were planting Western Red Cedars along Shelly Creek in late June when cedars have been dying from the droughts and heat domes we've been experiencing these past years. The answer is we have a secret weapon in a new volunteer and board member, Austin Peterson. Austin is an arborist.
Although the section of Shelly Creek between Wildgreen Way in Parksville and Hwy 19 is undeveloped, it has been impacted by erosional flows caused by development upstream, as well as mountain bike ramps and trails built on the creek banks (left-hand photo). One of our goals is not to kick the bikers out of the area, but to work with them to minimize their impact to the creek. The other goal is to provide natural stabilization to the creek banks with more trees in the riparian zone.
The BC Ministry of Land, Water and Resource Stewardship (formerly Forests, Lands, Resource Operations and Rural Development) in Port Alberni gave us 500 Western Red Cedar seedlings that were left over from their planting program. Austin, along with volunteer Pete Law, walked through the creek section, carefully selecting and flagging spots along the banks where soil was still moist and expected to remain so for most of the year. This section of creek is in a shaded ravine so more conducive to retaining soil moisture.
On June 29, ten volunteers planted the 500 seedlings. Charna Macfie is seen in the left-hand photo, and in the far left photo are Sue Wilson (left), Pete Law (centre), and Barbara Wildman-Spencer (right). The other volunteers included Austin Peterson, Barb Riordan, Dick Dobler, Jo McIlveen, Rick Walz, and Shelley Goertzen.
It will be interesting to see what our monitoring of the seedlings reveals about our planting strategy.
Photos by Austin Peterson.
Beach Day a Roaring Success
July 17 was the first Beach Day (Qualicum Beach) in two years and what a great time we had! Not only were there skydivers landing on the beach with impressive precision, and a seine netting session by our favourite biologist, Dave Clough, scores of stewardship groups were there with interactive displays demonstrating the wonders of nature. The organizers of Beach Day estimate 3,000 people went through the displays.
MVIHES had three interactive displays (left-hand photo). Ross Peterson was showing off his CSI skills by dissecting Dogfish Sharks and explaining their anatomy. He was swarmed by on-lookers for four hours making it impossible to get photos of him in action.
In the right-hand photo, Bruce Murray (you may remember him as our Lord of the Flies), was running the Pond Critters display and helping people catch and identify the aquatic bugs from the sample of pond water supplied by Peter Drummond.
Austin Peterson and Barb Riordan (left-hand photo) were explaining the importance of Forage Fish and how their spawning grounds are found and monitored, along with a microsope for viewing a sample of tiny Pacific Sandlance eggs.
The vortex (right-hand photo) which separates the tiny sand grains containing Sandlance eggs from sand samples really drew in the crowds.
All in all it was a very successful day. Hopefully Ross' fame doesn't go to his head. Photos by Austin Peterson again (which why he isn't in any).
Rivers Edge Neighbourhood Info Session
The Rivers Edge neighbourhood, located south of Parksville and on the south side of the Englishman River, gets its drinkingwater from a series of groundwater wells operated by the Englishman River Community Water Service (ERCWS) under the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN). This is a separate entity from the Englishman River Water Service (ERWS) operated by the City of Parksville which supplies water pumped from the river to the city.
On July 21, the RDN held an information session for the neighbourhood for addressing issues with their water supply. Staff from the ERCWS were in attendance as were staff from the Emergency Preparedness department and Team WaterSmart. MVIHES was asked to attend with our yellow fish signs that promote Salmon Friendly Lawns though water conservation (left-hand photo). Residents who pledge to leave more water in the creeks and rivers for the salmon by not watering their lawns, and not use chemical pesticides and herbicides, get a groovy yellow fish sign to put on their lawn that states "brown is the new green". Of course, "brown is the new green" refers to creating a trend where brown lawns are way cooler than green lawns.
Barb Riordan (right) and residents Don McConnell (background) and Melissa Tomlinson (foreground) of Team WaterSmart
We signed up 12 households with yellow fish signs which we think is way cool. Many thanks to the RDN for inviting us!