Wendy Tyrrell, Habitat Management Coordinator
Summer Breeze Makes Me Feel Fine…
The Matson Conservation Area (MCA) is in full summer mode and for some, this brings up a vision of brown, dying vegetation and tall wild grasses. True, the warmth of the sun heating up the soil and the longer days bring an end to the spring wildflowers - but it’s really not the end for our local birds, bees, butterflies and other insects & pollinators! The wildflowers are going to seed (senescing) and will provide a major source of food for the wildlife that call MCA home. We can proudly say, thanks to the hard work of Matson’s worker-bees, the Mattock’s - that the wildlife have more of their favorite meals on the menu this summer and fall! With less English ivy, English holly and Laurel daphne, the native plants that have evolved over time alongside our native wildlife are making a strong come-back! Clearing out these introduced plants provide the opportunity for native plants to take hold again.
Imagine the food chain that is happening right outside the downtown core… the river otters feed on the voles, the voles feed on the grasses & bulbs, the Anna’s Hummingbird is feeding on insects, the insects are eating the leaves and seeds of dying plants, the Pileated woodpecker feeds on the caterpillar, the
SaskatoonLorquin’s Admiral Butterfly is feeding on the Saskatoon berries and the caterpillars are feeding on the bitter cherry leaves… and so on, and so on!
So, look closely, between the grasses and camas seed pods, and you will see the more subtle, but no less beautiful wildflowers and shrubs of our summer season here on Vancouver Island such as: Harvest brodiaea, fool’s onion, mock orange and oceanspray. Take a moment to sit on the wall facing the meadows and take a deep breath and inhale the smells of summertime. Watch for a moment, see what you can discover.
Then, maybe go one step further…think about joining the Matson Mattock’s habitat restoration volunteer group one of these Wednesday mornings (9-11am) to see what they are up to. I’m sure they’d love to show you around and introduce you to some of the beauties popping up where the weeds used to be… and show you how to get a little dirty removing ivy and orchard grass! There’s something to be said about the feeling of instant gratification when pulling weeds and increasing the food source for our local wildlife.
Happy Summer to all,