Whitehead Park 2018

Tod Creek, photo from bridge on Goward Road, 14th Jan 2018.


15 January, 2018 

From Audrey: I went to the park and cut some blackberries this morning and saw a sweet pair of wood ducks honeymooning near the bridge. The trails are in great shape thanks for keeping them up and the wetlands grasses on our little stream are flourishing and lovely right now.. we should include a few more if/when we do future plantings. Unfortunately the lamium is also lovely green and thriving!

22 January, 2018 

Sher, Michael and Mary spent 1 ½ hours. Michael spread mulch on top of the chips on the west side while Sher and I pulled black berries and shiny geranium from among the hardhack on the east side. We talked a bit about work to be done thinking about the site meeting with Saanich staff next Monday.

29 January, 2018 

Site visit from Rick Hatch and Jillian Tuson of Saanich to hear what we had to say about what we have done and what we would like to do. Audrey, Michael, Winona, Sher and Mary spent 1 ½ hours with them. They seemed pleased with what they saw, and I was greatly relieved to have suggestions for the little things that were occupying me. Later in the season they will weed eat a suggested path along the side of the creek on the west side. The idea is to suggest a path but not mark it out too carefully so that people can discover it but it will not affect the riparian area with any permanent work. They will also see about money for seeding the area we have prepared. On the east side they will bring more chips for trails and next week bring wire to make tree protectors against rabbits, cats and deer that are barking the trees. We also walked down to Lohr Road to find that the flail had mangled our plants and labels on the east side of the road. Time to get at weeding the whole area before growth really gets going.

5 February, 2018

Don Illingworth and Kevin from Saanich came bringing fencing wire, Michael worked with them fencing the trees that were being damaged by deer or rabbits or cats or whatever else feels the need to peel the bark. Audrey, Sher and I pulled blackberries which are still easy to get out. (4 volunteers for 2 hours).


Feb 10th: New [old] wheelbarrow for Whitehead Park. We were relieved of our last one…

12 February, 2018 

Audrey, Mary and Sher cut and pulled blackberries from among the old rose bushes near the bottom trail. It is quite satisfying because the blackberries show up well with their remaining leaves and reddish stems against the roses which are leafless and dark stemmed. The ground remains soft. (3 people for 1 ½ hours).

19 February, 2018 

Too cold and snowy to work.

26 February, 2018 

Mary on her own worked in the only sunny patch which is in the hardhack up near the top of the site. I had thought of tackling the lamium but it was in the shade and very frosty so I moved over to the sun and pulled the few blackberry canes that are still there. After ½ hour Brian Koval came over to help but we mostly talked. At 10:00 we went over to Lohr Road where we met Rick Brand and turned into Pen Streams people. Brian and Rick cut and planted Red osier Dogwood stakes along the beautifully restored reach while, what else? I pulled blackberries. Very satisfying. Worked until 12:15.

March: blooming, greening, seeding, singing

5 March, 2018

Audrey and Mary worked at Lohr Road getting the blackberries out of the roses. The rooted tips are doing very well so it was good to get some out while we could. A Saanich garbage collector came by and offered to take our leavings which he did. 2 people 1 hour.

12 March, 2018 

Audrey and Mary returned to Lohr Road and carried on last week’s work. All plants are starting to grow. It looks as if the flowers will do very well this year. We left the pile of blackberries for later pick up. 2 People, 1 hour.

19 March, 2018

More work at Lohr Road. Audrey and Sher worked on the blackberries and are almost done. Mary, trying to save her sore shoulder pulled out the dead overgrowth to allow the sun at the roots of the plants. So much is growing very well: Douglas Aster, Yarrow, Pearly Everlasting, to name a few. Mary tidied on the upstream side of the culvert where the flail savaged our shrubs. What is left is budding up very well and there many hedge nettles peeping through the soil. 3 people, 1 ½ hours.

26 March, 2018

Audrey, Sher and Mary finished pulling blackberries and a few thistles from Lohr Road site. After a bit of tidy up we decided to go check out Whitehead in order to get inspired for next week. We spotted some YFI and vowed to bring boots and shovels for next week. On the east side we saw some blackberries under the cedars. The hardhack we planted is doing well and so are a few volunteer evergreens. The skunk cabbage is spreading but not likely to flower yet. However, over in the open area the red currant are blooming, some of them very well and hardhack and snowberry are showing great promise. 3 people 1 ½ hours.

April arrives on horseback

Goward Road at Whitehead Park, Prospect Lake Road behind the riders, on 2nd April 2018.




Perfect timing: old Ford passing horse & rider.


Whitehead Park workers, fauna, flora and Daniel’s tree.

Mary, Emily & Shar on the east side of the park.


Red-winged Blackbird.


Plum tree blooms.


Daniel Sawchin’s tree was first planted in Oct 2011.







To see the progression of Daniel’s tree, open this link:









Canadian geese, strolling the west side. 23rd April 2018


Black hawthorne tree [Crataegus douglasii], toppled over a bit, looks like from deer rubbing the lower trunk. Straightened & supported by a “Y” branch, and enclosed with wire fencing.


Support “Y” branch. 23rd April 2018.


Slough sedge [Carex obnupta], Skunk cabbage behind. 23rd April 2018.


Canada thistle [Cirsium arvense]: “distinguished from other thistles by the combo of green stems without spiny wings, small almost spineless heads and creeping rhizomes; originally from Eurasia”. In this photo, we see the rhizome:  an “underground, often elogated stem” with the subterranean stem sending out roots and new growth from its nodes (quotes from: Pojar & MacKinnon. 1994).

2 April, 2018 

We are back at Whitehead. Sher had a try at digging the YFI, but in spite of gum boots and a YFI shovel the area is still too wet to get anything out. We will keep watching and try later. We (Mary, Sher, Audrey, Lori and Emily) did a tour of the site so Emily could see what is going on. After 1 hour Emily, Lori and Audrey had to go and Sher and I settled into digging, Sher on the Shiny Geranium and Mary on blackberries. 3 people for 1 hour and 2 people for 2 hours.

9 April, 2018 

Lori, Emily, Audrey and Mary looked at the YFI which is still too wet to dig, but water levels are dropping. We then started weeding on the east side between the path and the creek. Bits of blackberry and creeping buttercup. The cleaver is starting to grow but not yet at the satisfying pulling stage. Worked our way along until we crossed our little creek and were tempted by the RCG starting to grow. We couldn’t resist and started digging and pulling. The shrubs that have survived are doing quite well considering their competition, but will be glad of being freed from the RCG. (Later in the day at a meeting about the school bus tour, we asked the school to save cardboard and we will get the kids to spread it and put mulch on it.) 4 people for 1 ½ hours.

16 April, 2018 

A very rainy day. Andrea Neumann and Audrey came. We did a little tour of the place so Andrea could see the progress since she was last here. Our Skunk Cabbage is blooming beautifully for the first time! There are 2 blooms. Then Audrey got after some blackberries that we starting up over by the beaver stumps while Andrea and Mary dug a little more RCG. Winona came by and we discussed how we will have the PL school students spread the cardboard. We will probably do the bits close to the plants. After an hour Audrey left and Andrea and Mary went over to the flats to see how Andrea will work with the PL students there. We spent another hour there watching the birds. We saw three Canada Goose nests with eggs exposed to the rain. They were all on the east side of the creek on the new islands. 3 people for 1 hour at Whitehead and 2 people for 1 hour at the flats for the School bus trip.

23 April, 2018 

Skunk cabbage [23 April 2018]

Slough sedge, in front of the Skunk cabbage [23rd April 2018]

Lori, Audrey and Mary did our usual admiring tour of our site. The sedges are coming into bloom and with the help of Pojar we identified a few. The skunk cabbage is passing its peak, but Lori was delighted to see it doing so well since it came from her place. Lori had brought lots of cardboard so she and Audrey removed the tape (the staples had already been done by Ian and Anne) while Mary got after some blackberries starting in the south east corner. The salal up there is looking more established and there is one shoot of fireweed that has taken hold. Spring is an exciting time. (3 people for 2 hours).

30 April, 2018 

Lori, Emily, Sher and Mary spent time admiring the vegetation. Lori brought some labels. They were mostly for Lohr Road, but we did label a few. Lots of talking about what is growing where, a luxury we did not have in the old days. Had a chat with Nigel Penn from next door. He will have a go at the lamium creeping in from his compost pile. The fireweed has sent up several more shoots. A very pleasant morning. (4 people for 1 ½ hours)

Oregon Grape [Mahonia aquifolium] May 1, 2018

7 May, 2018 

A beautiful sunny day. We carefully explored both sides of the creek and worked out what we want to do and tell the PL students on 25 May. We will walk as close as we can to the creek on the west side noting what is growing and what we see. On east side walk trails, look for beaver and other animal signs, the put mulch on the cardboard. We pulled some cleaver. Lori, Emily, Audrey, Sherron and Mary. (5 people for 2 hours)

Fringecup, labelled.

Slough sedge “… is still a popular basket material for the Nuu-chah-nulth and the Makah.” [Pojar & MacKinnon]



Common Horsetail [Equisetum arvense]. These living fossils “of the horsetail family that reached heights of 45 feet are preserved in the coal beds of Pennsylvania and elsewhere. Before the dinosaurs, before the flowering plants, they dominated the land in variety, abundance, and sheer size.”                                             To read more, go to: https://gtjournal.tadl.org/2014/horsetails-and-snake-grass-relics-before-the-dinosaurs/

Woodland strawberry [Fragaria vesca], 7th May 2018.


Fireweed [Epilobium angustifolium]: the flowers produce abundant nectar for an exceptional honey.

Norway maple [Acer platanoides], not a native plant. See https://treecanada.ca/resources/tree-killers/norway-maple/ regarding the negative impact this tree has on our native environment.

14 May, 2018 

Another sunny day and the land is drying out nicely. We carefully checked what was growing well in order to be ready to point it out to the PL students on the 25th. The cardboard and chips on the west side are doing a good job of keeping the RCG down. The chips are still not breaking down enough to consider planting. On the east side things are filling out nicely. The area between the creek and the trail under the cedars is looking less bare thanks to the abundant horsetail. Cardboard and chips with the students will take care of the RCG beside the wet land. Audrey, Mary and Winona 1 ½ hours.

21 May, 2018 

Walked and talked the park again with Sherron. We want to concentrate on what is happening at this site more than worrying about the names of plants. There is lots happening on the west side and we tramped out a bit of a trail that will let students discover some beaver stumps etc. Mary and Sherron 1 ½ hours.
The rest of the week I was at the park each day. Wednesday showing Shelagh around for an hour, Thursday meeting Sean from Saanich Parks for trail route and chip and mulch dumping.

25 May, 2018 

PL School bus tour – 9 volunteers spent the morning 8:30-12:30 touring students through the trails and around the site. We were helped by 5 students from Claremont. As well as introducing 240 students and attendant staff and parents, we managed to build the outdoor classroom on top of a RCG patch. It may be wet in winter but we can keep putting chips on it if necessary. I love the trail on the west side. One teacher called it “Whitehead’s little path of wonders.”

Check out the photos from the Student Tour here:         https://www.todcreekwatershed.ca/kids-page

May 25th


Bigleaf maple [Acer macrophyllum] : carries a greater load of mosses and other plants than any other tree species in our region [Pojar and MacKinnon].

28 May, 2018 

Still riding high from the success of Friday. Tidied up the cardboard and pulled a few blackberries while Michael covered the classroom with more chips and the other cardboard with mulch. As always there is more to do. Several of the older alders are dying. Most noticeable is the large clump in the centre of the south east side. 2 people 1 ½ hours.


4th June 2018

Michael spread mulch and woodchips, WHP-eastside, along the water where the beaver stumps are.  Lori raked the mulch & woodchips; and pruned branches along the trail for easy walking. 2 people for 1.5 hours each.

5th June 2018

Winona, Michael and Ian did the water-testing. 3 people for 2.5 hours each.

18th June 2018 

Michael, Audrey and Lori spread mulch and woodchips: 3 people for 1.5 hours each.

Saanich Awards 2018 18th June 2018

Individual Environmental Achievement

Audrey Barnes

Audrey is receiving the individual environmental achievement award in honour of her leadership and volunteer achievements to help protect and restore local ecosystems. Audrey has contributed significant time and leadership with community groups in the Tod Creek Watershed area. She works weekly on restoration projects, especially at Whitehead Park, but including East Lake Park and the native plant garden at Prospect Lake Elementary. In addition, Audrey provides leadership for environmental monitoring initiatives, education, and fundraising and is an environmental steward of her own 5 acre property.









Linda Geggie
Linda Geggie is this year’s Sustainability award winner, recognizing her leadership and achievements in building sustainable food systems in Saanich. Linda’s early work led to the establishment of Lifecycles in 1994 and from there the development of a network of organizations providing sustainable food services. This network eventually became the Capital Region Food and Agriculture Initiatives Roundtable to develop healthy, equitable and sustainable food systems in the Capital Region. Linda’s vision and leadership have served this and other local organizations, contributing to many services, initiatives and partnerships. Recently, Linda’s efforts contributed to the development of the Saanich Food and Agriculture Security Plan.








Long Term Achievement
Shelagh Levey
Shelagh Levey is the 2018 winner of the Long Term Achievement award, honouring her accomplishments as a leader and educator to protect the environment in Saanich. As a Gordon Head resident in the 1960’s, Shelagh pioneered the first recycling program in Western Canada, adopted and further expanded by Saanich. As a teacher she led Gordon Head Elementary School to achieve Earth School status through 1000 environmental projects. Over the years Shelagh has led and participated in many community initiatives to protect the environment in Saanich, especially at Prospect Lake and within the Todd Creek Watershed. Currently, Shelagh works on ecological restoration at Sayward Hill Park and dedicates her time as an advocate of local, provincial and national environmental issues


2nd July 2018

From Audrey: I love our successful planting of the roses around the caged trees… this one is right where we park on the lower lot and the roses have grown way up the tree and is lovely with blossoms all through the branches.


9th July 2018

Linda and Sherron laying more cardboard for lasagna gardening.


Female Wood duck, at the mouth of Tod Creek.


19th July, 2018

Mary went to Lohr Road to cut the thistle heads of before they spread most of their seed. There were a lot but I got most of them. The bed is thick with things we want; yarrow, Douglas Aster, roses, etc.

23rd July, 2018

Audrey pulled more thistles and bindweed out of the WHP horsetail patch. The blackberries have been growing out of sight throughout the horsetails… our winter project will have to include getting a handle on those blackberries as they have been coming back with a vengeance. I also checked the plum tree by the edge of the lake and did remember correctly… there are both yellow and red plums on those trees but they won’t be ready for a week or two yet. 1 person for 1.5 hours.

30th July, 2018

30 July, 2018 – Valerie HB, Mary and Lori had a great tour of Whitehead. It is wonderful to see how much has grown full and bushy. Some things, sword fern for example, are suffering from the drought. We tell them things will improve. The trail on the west side is lovely and cool.

6th Aug, 2018

Valerie and Mary spent time weeding and mulching the trails. We found two pitch forks in the chips. They are very satisfying to use. We got some done but then it got too hot. 2 people for 1 ½ hours.

13th & 20th Aug, 2018

13 August: Too many house guests

20 August: Toured the park with Lori. Too hot to work much and the ground is packed hard. The plants are hunkered down waiting for some rain.  2 people 1 hour

The last of the Hardhack flowers.

















East side of the creek, plum tree.



East side of the creek, trail starts on Goward Road.

















Standing on Goward Road, you can see how low the water level is beneath the wood frames.

Same place as photo above, this time from below the bridge.

Shelagh Levey’s Outdoor Classroom.
















Times Colonist newspaper this week called our skies “Smoke on the Water.”

This photo was taken at 11:00 and only shows the sun in reflection. The BC fires are burning and the skies are smokey.

Not a trace of a blue sky.


27th Aug, 2018

Cut thistles on west side of park. I hope they do not continue to mature as they lie on the ground. They probably will. One person for 1 hour.

3 September, 2018 – Did not go to the park.

10th Sept, 2018

A walk and talk with Lori and Winona checking on plants and noticing the dead and dying alder trees including the large old on in the centre of the south-east patch. 3 people 1 hour.


Sept 17th, 2018

Lori and Mary worked at clearing out the creek in preparation for the fall rains. We pulled out the horse trail and buttercups. The ground is soft enough to get buttercup roots. Joy. Divided some of the sedges and put them farther up the creek. Will do more next week with the proper tools. Saanich delivered mulch while we were there and will bring more later today. Exciting. 2 people for 2 hours.

Saanich supplying us with mulch, so fresh & hot, it’s steaming.




Plugs taken from our grasses and placed along the small creek bed, Whitehead east-side, coming down from Goward Road.





















































24 September, 2018 

Lori and Mary did a bit more transplanting of sedge, but it is still dry below the surface soil so thought we should wait until it rains some more. Winona joined us as we weeded a bit and arranged cardboard ready to spread the delicious mulch on it. Winona and Mary were meeting with Adriane so we left earlier than usual. 3 people of 1 hour.

1 October – 26 October, 2018 

Mary will be away.

1 October, 2018 

Was by myself at the park this morning and as I passed our lovely healthy golden willow stump decided it really had to be taken care of. Nearly lost my shoes as I sunk into the quagmire so… hunted down some long planks to cross the bog and managed to prune all the whips off without sinking up to my hips this year. Great fun trying not to fall in as I twisted almost upside down on the slimy stumps to cut them…. If you hear cirque du soleil is looking for performers tell them you know a great contortionist. Next week I will try to hunt down and bring a hacksaw to cut off the big fruiting knobs that the whips grow out of as
they get bigger and healthier each year.

Will take an after picture of our naked stump next week

29 Oct, 2018 

After a pause of a few weeks we decided to have a blitz on the mulch. Winona, Audrey, Sherron and Mary spent 1 ½ hours pulling back RCG and spreading mulch on the east side. Then we spread mimulus seed from Winona and VI Beggarticks seed from Marion McCoy over the mulch. The work was done in the rain and we hope the seeds will be happy. Started to dig to plant a rose, but the ground is still too hard and very dry a few inches down. Altogether a satisfying day which we will repeat next Monday. 4 people 1 ½ hours.

5 November, 2018

Time to carry on with last week’s work. Winona, Audrey, Lori and Mary took up the wheelbarrow and continued spreading the mulch. Audrey and Lori then took on the blackberries that are making themselves at home. This I where we started so long ago, and Audrey got into the spirit by naming the b.berries she was dealing with. Octopus was the biggest and had the most “arms.” I was able to dig enough to plant the cluster rose and Winona moved most, but not all, of the mulch from the parking lot. 4 people 1 ½ hours.

12 November, 2017

I had a lovely time savoring the silence of the Park as I worked on my own. I pulled some RCG from the mulched area on the east side and found it fairly easy. However, my main desire was to rake the paths on the east side which I did. It is always a very satisfying thing to do. The places where we dumped the chips without getting out the trailing buttercup are infested of course. We will have to do better at weeding if we want the place to look spiffy. 1 person for 1 ½ hours.

16 November, 2018

A Friday, but that was the day Sher could come. We had a great time pulling at the RCG growing in the mulch on the west side. Lots of space cleared ready for the cardboard. Pat C stopped by to say she and Ian had picked up a great deal of cardboard and they would drop it off tomorrow morning. Sher and Mary did some checking and pulling at the growth on the east side. Lots to do on the upcoming work party. 2 people for 2 hours.

19 November, 2018 

Lori, Audrey, Jay from Power to Be and Mary pulled tape from the huge pile of very large cardboard so that it will be ready for the work party on Saturday. Not a hugely exciting job for Jay, but we did also do a walk around and, of course, lots of talk about what invasives and what plans they have for the other end of the lake. 4 people for 1 hour.

24 November, 2018

WORK PARTY – The focus of the day was to spread more cardboard on the west side to try to discourage the RCG growing around the shrubs in the riparian area and then cover it with the mulch from the parking lot. This we accomplished with the help of Jenny Eastman and her son Jasper, Sher Morgan and her partner, John, Bernie Bowker, Winona, Audrey and Mary. The site looks great for now. We will see how it looks in the spring. 8 people for 2 ½ hours.

26 November, 2018

I was itching to get at the east side to extend the mulch and cardboard treatment near the outdoor classroom. We happily used Saanich’s wheelbarrows which they have not yet picked up after Saturday’s work party. It was pouring rain which made the cardboard soft and easy to work with and also the buttercups and blackberry easy to dig out. The buttercups need to be weeded from the path and the blackberries from where ever they are. Sher and Mary worked away and got thoroughly drenched. Great to get home and warm up. 2 people for 1 ½ hours.

3 December, 2018

A very cold day. Audrey and I spread the last bit of cardboard over the RCG and then wheelbarrowed mulch to cover it. I tried digging a few buttercups out of the path but the ground was frozen. Audrey couldn’t resist pulling some blackberries. But our main job was the mulch. In 1 ¼ hours our fingers were so frozen we decided to go home. I brought a rake and a couple of pitch forks home to paint the handles FTCW red. 2 people 1 ¼ hours.

10 December, 2018

With our newly painted red handled tools Audrey and Mary set to work. We were soon joined by Jay who speeded up the work considerably. A bit of path weeding and blackberry pulling and then Jay and Mary planted the Lonicera and mimulus plants that Kristen had donated. Audrey started out to join us, but kept seeing one more blackberry and then one more so we were finished before she caught up with us. We planted a few of the mimulus on the east bank, but most of it we put on the west side where we hope it will get enough sun and moisture. Then Jay wheelbarrowed loads of mulch to give thick cover on the cardboard we had place on the east side. Audrey and Mary had had enough and decided to go home after 1 ½ hours. Jay stayed on to do “a few more wheelbarrow loads” of mulch. (3 people for 1 ½ hours or maybe a bit more for Jay).

17 December, 2018

Audrey, Sher and Mary worked on a lovely morning admiring the high water from the recent rains. The newly planted mimulus is well flooded as is Winona’s lawn where some of them came from. Mary and Sher got to work on the paths weeding out buttercups and Audrey did some more pulling of RCG from around the roses and snowberry so that they could stand upright for the winter. We put a few buckets of mulch on the newly weeded paths and decided to leave it at that. We will take a couple of Mondays off and come back in the New Year. (3 people 2 hours).


Comments are closed.

error: Content is protected !!