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).
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
Whitehead Park workers, fauna, flora and Daniel’s tree.
To see the progression of Daniel’s tree, open this link:
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, 2018Lori, 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)
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)
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
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 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 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 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
9th July 2018
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.
Times Colonist newspaper this week called our skies “Smoke on the Water.”
10th Sept 2018
Sept 17th 2018