Hedgerows for Habitat at Lohbrunner Farm

Are you passionate about pollinators and local food?

As part of the Good Neighbours Program, we have recently launched the Hedgerows for Habitat Initiative, helping farmers create habitat for pollinators on the borders and fringes of the cultivated fields. We have partnered up with Lohbrunner Community Farm Co-op to create a habitat hedgerow corridor for our native pollinators in Langford - a quickly expanding community in need of pollinator-friendly spaces. This 60 metre (~200ft) line of native shrubs and perennial wildflowers were sourced from Saanich Native Plants Nursery. This site is in the Bilston Creek floodplain, and therefore is seasonally wet (sometimes underwater!) in the winter, so we chose plant species that are well-adapted to flooding conditions for part of the year.

This video just gives you a sneak peek into the planting process. More videos to come!

Thank you to our funders - EcoAction Community Fund and Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, and private donors like you. Find out how to support this and other initiatives:

 

This video was created by the talented filmmaker Rodrigo Inostroza - find him on Instagram as @inomonke

 

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Supporting Conservation During a Pandemic

These days, much of the news is about COVID-19 and the Coronavirus that causes it. In the weeks since the outbreak came to southern Vancouver Island, more and more media reports are now focusing on the political and social issues related to the pandemic. Some of these articles are important commentaries on the way different governments are handling (or have handled) their COVID-19 reactions while other stories are more polarized. There are also outlets reporting on how COVID-19 and Climate Change are “parallel” (UN News 28 April 2020), yet there are even fewer discussing how one is, like the image above hints, heavily linked to the other.

Unlike the image to the left, Climate Change isn’t “coming,” it is already here (LA Times, Opinion, 15 Sept 2019). Like the COVID-19 pandemic, it is a process with a “curve” very much similar to the line graphs we’re getting used to seeing with the “flatten the curve” strategy (Treble, 29 April 2020) - the less we do to mitigate the human causes of a drastically changing climate, the steeper the “curve” of its effects (on ecosystems, biodiversity, and human society) will be in the short term. The relationship between Climate Change and the COVID-19 pandemic also serve as very good reasons for continuing to support conservation and environmental initiatives during the pandemic.

Climate change, biodiversity, and habitat conservation are very much linked to the ongoing pandemic, mostly in how this novel coronavirus began. According to Nicole Mortillaro, the global decline in biodiversity is putting species into contact in new ways, creating more conditions for viruses and the diseases they cause to “jump” species (Mortillaro 2020). Doubling the impact of this, habitat loss contributes to the loss of biodiversity and often puts species into contact in very drastic ways, particularly when that loss is linked to resource extraction.

While the current pandemic did not begin in southern Vancouver Island, the experience is giving us an opportunity to see certain things happen at home. We are only as resilient as the ecosystems that sustain us, and they are only as resilient as the biodiversity that they’re made up of. Within this resilience are built in layers of protection that slow or even stop the advance of everything from contagious diseases (in the case of a pandemic) (Roston 2020), to wildfires (Goldman 2016). It seems that biodiversity isn’t just how diverse the biological mass of the planet is, it’s actually something that regulates the way many things interact!

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Parenting during Covid–times. 

By Wendy Tyrrell 

Habitat Management Coordinator 

 

Who would have thought that I would be working from home during the beautiful, showy springtime on Southern Vancouver Island and having to decipher moment to moment, the challenges that encompass all that is our new norm like…how I’m going to attend my next Zoom meeting at the same time that my son has a Zoom meeting with his classmates on the latest book they are all reading at home under the B1 English Language Arts Curriculum section…huh?  I always thought you read books for entertainment. 

This time last year I had five really awesome community-based restoration events successfully completed and more coming up.  This year, I’m trying to figure out what it means in Grade 5 math to use an “array model” to help my son do multiplication. The beauty of all of this new learning is that I know that I am not alone and I’m good at faking it!  But, before I wallow in my own struggles, I acknowledge fully that I’m an extremely fortunate person to even consider these small dilemmas a challenge. 

There are many of us that have relied (heavily) on providing structure and education to our children via the traditional public school model.  I may be fighting this tradition with all of its downfalls, but I now realize how I have taken it for granted and how dependent upon it I have been.  I’m not a creature of structure and I’m post-menopausal, so multi-tasking no longer comes naturally… being at home with my son, trying to work 25 hours a week and take care of a new puppy (no… not a Covid-induced puppy, just a lucky coincidence), and take care of the daily chores of living in a house (a privilege I’m thankful for)  yup– you see it, you’ve heard it from your friends – this is not for the faint of heart.  

But, in my weeks of meandering, flailing and trying to do it all like superwoman and also be able to bake bread and completely set up my garden before the May long weekend – well, it’s not working, surprise, surprise.  Alas, I know why. 

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Broom Bashing

Did you know that May is officially Invasive Species Action month in BC? There is no better time to get outside and do what you can in your yard or in your community to help battle invasive species like Scotch Broom. 

Along with the beautiful wildflowers blooming this time of year, many of you have likely noticed the bright yellow pea-like flowers that cover the shrub we call Scotch Broom (Cytisus scoparius)Originally native to the Mediterranean, it was transported to Great Britain and Ireland by Roman soldiers along with its prickly companion Gorse (Ulex europaeus). In the UK it has since spread rapidly across the landscape and is known as Common Broom. It was first introduced to the west coast by a Scottish immigrant, who lived in Sooke oVancouver Island, and was later used for slope stabilization along roadsides and as an ornamental in gardens    

Scotch Broom is an invasive species, which means it was introduced here and thrives to such a degree that, if left unchecked, it will cover all the open space that it can, often crowding out other more delicate plants. You will see fields and hillsides covered in Broomoften a dense thicket that is basically impossible to walk through. There will likely be very low diversity of other plants as they are shaded out and weakened by competition for resources.  

 

Part of HAT’s Good Neighbours Program is helping landowners learn how to manage invasive species on their property. HAT staff and volunteers offer advice and expert referrals regarding removal, replacement and maintenance.  

 If you would like to remove broom and you are feeling overwhelmed or unsure where to start, here are some resources filled with advice, tips and tricks for Broom removal:  

Invasive Species Council of BC Scotch Broom Factsheet 

Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team Scotch Broom Management 

If you are interested in learning more about the History of Scotch Broom on Southern Vancouver Island click the following link. It is definitely worth a read! 

Glistening Patches of Gold”: The Environmental History of Scotch Broom (Cytisus scoparius) on Southern Vancouver Island, 1848-1950 

There are many other plants popping up at the moment that could stand to be pulled or cut. If you have any questions about a plant in your property please send a picture to our email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we would be happy to identify it for you and give you some tips. Another great plant identification resource is the app iNaturalist, with the added bonus of reporting your siting and contributing to an ever-growing database. 

Here is a link to the downloadable version of HAT’s Invasive Species Guide  

PDF Here 

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