Willows students help put 2,500 native plants into Oak Bay’s Uplands Park

Willows students help put 2,500 native plants into Oak Bay’s Uplands Park

Restoration of Garry oak ecosystem continues

Heavy restoration of the sensitive ecosystem at Uplands Park continued with help from École Willows elementary school students.

November is an ideal time for tree planting and invasive removals and throughout the month, students all the way from Kindergarten to Grade 5 visited to work on the park. It’s the fourth year of the school participating in the project with Uplands Park’s fearless stewards, Margaret Lidkea and Wylie Thomas, who have been instrumental in helping restore the park in partnership with the District of Oak Bay.

“In all we planted more than 2,500 plants sourced locally through Saanich Native Plants and sowed many hundreds of thousands of seeds collected from the park,” Thomas said.

While there is great promise showed, including surprising growth of the endangered plant Graceful cinquefoil, there is still much work ahead to restore one of the most endangered ecosystems in Canada, Lidkea said.

The biggest thing we can teach students is that they can make a difference, she added.

READ MORE: Uplands Park designated a national heritage site

“Students have removed invasive English ivy and other invasive plants, and then planted native species around a surviving 250-year-old Garry oak tree … a grandparent tree,” Lidkea said. “And now that the underbrush and Norway maple canopy is out, we’re finding Scotch broom babies growing that must go back 20-plus years.”

Parts of the area were plowed in the mid 1800s to grow grain for cattle (and likely vegetables) for the soldiers at Fort Victoria. Then it was left fallow. There’s even a 1920s photo in Oak Bay Archives showing the plowed field. In moved popular plants that early Uplands residents imported from England, such as English holly, One-seed Hawthorn, European ash, Norway and Sycamore maple, Thomas said.

“The understory was so dense and dark that little other than invasive Daphne (also known as Spurge Laurel) and English ivy survived,” Thomas said.

Lidkea calls the Daphne Laurel a toxic, stinky rat food plant. Yes there are rats in Uplands.

“These plants support rats and very few native animals,” Lidkea added.

This past week Oak Bay Parks planted four Garry oak trees (with Willows student help) and over $5,000 worth of native plants. Oak Bay purchased three of the oaklings while Sally Hallam’s kindergarten class from last year raised money from their Kindness of Trees calendar to pay for the fourth.

Some of the native species planted include: Nodding onion; Great Camas; Western buttercup; Red columbine; Woolly sunflower; Large-Leafed avens; Graceful cinquefoil; Sea blush; Shooting stars; Douglas’ Aster; Fool’s onion; and a mix of native sedges (grass-like plants); tall Oregon grape and Mock orange.

reporter@oakbaynews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Willows elementary students remove invasive species and plant native species in Uplands Park. (Margaret Lidkea Photo)

Willows elementary students remove invasive species and plant native species in Uplands Park. (Margaret Lidkea Photo)

Just Posted

One person is dead after a camper van caught fire Thursday morning in Victoria's Beacon Hill Park. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
One person dead after vehicle fire in Beacon Hill Park

Investigation into Victoria death in early stages

Protestors against old growth logging gather in front of the courthouse in Victoria on Thursday morning. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Fairy Creek protesters gather at Victoria courthouse

Logging company seeks injunction to remove blockades near its Port Renfrew operation

Victoria police are searching for a federal offender who is wanted Canada-wide after his statutory release was suspended. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Victoria police searching for federal offender wanted Canada-wide

Warrant issued after offender’s statutory release suspended

A recently finished $4.3-million taxiway extension at the Victoria International Airport (not pictured) is unusable because of a blind spot. (Black Press Media file photo)
Blind spot leaves Victoria airport’s new $4.3-million taxiway extension unusable

Solution has been put on hold by COVID-19 pandemic, says airport authority

Lansdowne Middle School.
(Black Press Media File Photo)
Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of March 2

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: How’s your butter?

Recent reports have some Canadians giving a second look to one of… Continue reading

Some Canadians are finding butter harder than usual, resulting in an avalanche of social media controversy around #buttergate. (Brett Williams/The Observer)
#Buttergate: Concerns around hard butter hit small B.C. towns and beyond

Canadians find their butter was getting harder, blame palm oil in part one of this series

Construction takes place on Bamfield Main in early February 2021. (PHOTO COURTESY CTV NEWS)
Ongoing Bamfield roadwork unrelated to planned $30M fix

Construction by Mosaic unrelated to $30M upgrade ordered in wake of fatal bus crash

B.C. research reveals how pandemic has changed attitudes towards sex, health services

CDC survey shows that 35 per cent of people were worried about being judged

The Regional District of Nanaimo’s board is forwarding a motion on illegal dumping to the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities’ upcoming annual general meeting. (Kane Blake photo)
Island communities asked to join forces in seeking help fighting illegal dumping

RDN resolution to be forwarded to Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon speaks in the B.C. legislature, describing work underway to make a small business and tourism aid package less restrictive, Dec. 10, 2020. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends deadline for tourism, small business COVID-19 grants

Business owners expect months more of lost revenues

Mid day at the Vancouver Port Intersection blockade on March 3, organized by the Braided Warriors. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
Anti-pipeline blockade at Vancouver intersection broken up by police

Demonstraters were demanding the release of a fellow anti-TMX protester

Most Read