The following feel good story was written by Denis Coupland from KENNES Watershed Project and he paints a beautiful picture of what goes into restoring special areas in our region. HAT has been fortunate enough to participate in this journey for the past few years and to see the difference a group of volunteers can make is powerful. This year HAT was represented by Todd Carnahan (he also took all the photos you are about to see!), our new summer intern Paige- Erickson-McGee and three HAT volunteers. Enjoy the following read and pass it along to anyone who has put in time and effort to help restore natural areas.
There was a cold wind blowing when the first sailings left for Senanus Island last Wednesday morning with a nasty drizzle falling when we landed. However, as you can see the weather gradually lightened and after a bit of energetic blackberry-bashing, this group of happy campers were loosening jackets and stripping of rain gear. Also note just how far they had to go in from the cliffs this year to find significant stands of blackberries to dig up. These are just some of the 30 volunteers whom Captain Brian Smiley in the EcoCruising boat and Captain Tony Peard in Pumpty Dumpty brought over in two trips each. Other crews went to work lopping down Scotch Broom and fighting the English Ivy carpet in the cedar woods (more about that later). And of course, people wanted to mix things up and socialize so that by the end of the day, almost everybody had tried their hand at everything.
The great English Ivy war!
Here are people clearing English Ivy off the forest floor. Notice the thriving ferns in the left foreground. I had said in my invitational e-mail that we had cut off around the base of most of the trees and now we could concentrate on clearing the floor. However, some of us went bush-whacking and found that at the north end of the island there were still large stands where we hadn't yet cut the growth off the trees. Word spread and first strike parties soon headed out into the new territory.
Around noon we took a well-earned break for lunch. Those are students and staff of the Sannich Adult Education Centre in the foreground. And then we headed back for another hour or so of cutting Broom, bashing Blackberries and chopping Ivy. When the boats loaded again, people were saying what a great day it had been and they hoped they could back again next year and, I think, feeling well-satisfied with what they had accomplished and so they should.
A final thought!
This was the view of the south end of Senanus Island as we departed, a typical view of a Garry Oak and arbutus meadow. It's hard to believe that only a few years ago, it was completely hidden by Scotch Broom and Himalayan Blackberries. And that's not just from a distant perspective. Last week I walked every inch of it and there's not one damned shoot of either in the ground. We are winning the war!