New sign to be unveiled at Oak Bay Earth Day celebration

Residents are invited to celebrate Earth Day with a picnic in Uplands Park and the unveiling of a new Uplands Park sign on Sunday, April 22.

Ron Carter and the Bald Eagles will perform at Earth Day celebrations at Uplands Park this Sunday.

Ron Carter and the Bald Eagles will perform at Earth Day celebrations at Uplands Park this Sunday.

Residents of Greater Victoria are invited to celebrate Earth Day with a picnic in Uplands Park and the unveiling of a new Uplands Park sign on Sunday, April 22.

The second annual picnic, organized by the Friends of Uplands Park and the Community Association of Oak Bay, offers opportunities for education, stewardship, and inspiration, said Margaret Lidkea, co-founder of Friends of Uplands Park.

The picnic is about celebrating our connection with our natural world, Lidkea said. It combines people with their love of nature and to encourages children to be active outside.

“We feel it’s a park that needs to be celebrated because it’s not just a natural park, it is a cultural park, and it’s also a park that a lot of people use for all sorts of reasons,” she said.

A group of Oak Bay residents, including Lidkea and Chris Hyde-Lay, Oak Bay Parks department manager, will also unveil a sign demarcating the south entrance to Uplands Park across from Cattle Point.

The 3.6m by 3.35m sandblasted cedar sign is similar to the one in the Windsor Park scented garden, but has green trim, green oak leaves and white lettering, Hyde-Lay said, adding it should be up in the park by April 18.

The group has been working on the signage project since last spring, Lidkea said. Next, they plan to develop an informational welcome kiosk at the entrance.  The sign replaces a previous controversial one built by Monterey recreation centre’s woodworkers club and placed by the heritage-designated Uplands gates. That one was taken down in 2010 following complaints by Oak Bay’s heritage committee that the sign was not in keeping with Uplands design guidelines. It was relocated to the corner of Foul Bay Road and McNeill Avenue.

The family-friendly event includes live music and park clean up. Activities for kids include a treasure hunt, bubbles, and face painting.

An initiative to remove invasive Scotch broom and Evergreen Daphne plants will also take place during the picnic.

The removal of these plants is important in preventing their spread, Lidkea said.

“It’s important to open up the meadow of the Garry oak eco-system and allow the wildflowers to bloom,” she explained. “By cutting it down and not allowing it to flower, we are preventing more seeds from being produced.”

People interested in helping with the removal of these plants will be instructed on the best and correct methods. They are also encouraged to bring their own hand-held pruners or loppers.

The plants will be hauled away by Oak Bay Parks and composted.

The event runs from 12 to 3:30 p.m., rain or shine. A music tent and information tables will be set up at the grassy entrance to Cattle Point at Beach Drive.

There will also be bird walk for adults at 7 a.m. and a walk from Oak Bay Municipal Hall to Uplands Park at 11 a.m.