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Garry Oak Meadow Marathon underway at Cattle Point

Every Sunday in February and March Friends of Uplands Park is seeking volunteers
No Ivy League – Join this weekly restoration group with Friends of Uplands Park, helping to restore the endangered Garry Oak Ecosystem by removing invasive English Ivy and other invasive plants. Sundays through to March 25. Meet from 1 to 3 p.m. at the kiosks at Cattle Point. Tools and gloves will be provided, instruction given, and areas to work in will be determined by Oak Bay Parks Management Plan. Suitable for all ages. An excellent volunteer opportunity for students. (Black Press file photo)

The Friends of Uplands Park Society (FOUP) invites the public to help remove invasive species from Uplands Park.

Every Sunday in February and March (from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.), FOUP provides the instructions and tools to remove invasive plants. It’s part of a coordinated action across southern Vancouver Island called the Garry Oak Meadow Marathon. The goal is to restore and maintain Garry oak habitats.

FOUP president Margaret Lidkea described Uplands Park as the best example of a Garry Oak ecosystem.

“It’s only 75 acres, so it’s one of the largest but at the same time it’s a very small amount when you consider that it needs to have a lot of space to take over,” Lidkea said. “It is, I think, the second most endangered ecosystem in all of Canada.”

She said that Uplands Park has 24 species of rare plants, while Cattle Point itself has 11.

“We feel very strongly that by removing invasives down there, we’re giving the native plants an opportunity to do better,” Lidkea said.

READ MORE: Restoration of Uplands Park’s Garry Oak ecosystem pays off

Lidkea said she would like to see Oak Bay’s Parks department do more to protect the park. She said some rare plants started to bounce back in the last year, but at the same time the park is getting busier with increased awareness and tourism. She’s happy with new signs to help educate visitors in the works, saying that educating people is an important aspect of protection.

Due to the cold weather, the first event on Feb. 3 only drew around five participants. However, refreshments are provided, and volunteers will be entered to win prizes. Volunteers are told to meet at Cattle Point.

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