Participants at Cowichan Garry Oak Preseve Workshop (Photo by Ed Brooks)

Participants at Cowichan Garry Oak Preseve Workshop (Photo by Ed Brooks)

Biggest winner of the Meadow Marathon: Garry Oak Ecosystems

Candice Chapple Daphne removal (Photo by Greater Victoria Green Team)

Candice Chapple Daphne removal (Photo by Greater Victoria Green Team)

The second Garry Oak Meadow Marathon has finished and it certainly was quite a feat. Throughout February and March, 11 parks and conservation groups ran 52 events across southern Vancouver Island and Salt Spring Island to raise awareness about our globally endangered Garry oak ecosystems. Even with February seeing the most snow since 1941, a total of 400 volunteers took part.

“For me volunteering is a way to engage with my community, meet people from all walks of life, learn new things and do something useful in the process,” said Uplands Park volunteer Felicity Bradley. “I especially enjoy the fresh air and exercise I get being part of the important stewardship of such a beautiful location.”

Meadow Marathon winners (L-R): Simon Bluck, Margaret How, Felicity Bradley (Photo by Greater Victoria Green Team)

Meadow Marathon winners (L-R): Simon Bluck, Margaret How, Felicity Bradley (Photo by Greater Victoria Green Team)

Throughout the marathon, volunteers planted 170 native trees and shrubs and removed over 80 cubic metres of invasive species. Several experts lead workshops and nature walks, teaching first-time and veteran volunteers historical knowledge and new skills.  

“I love working in nature and trying to allow what is naturally here a chance to flourish again,” explained Margaret How. “And I do see progress, so it's all worth it.”

Hard work may be its own reward, but the organizers of the Garry Oak Meadow Marathon want to give a huge shout out to these volunteers who put in extra effort by coming out to at least three events during the marathon. These volunteers were entered into a draw from some excellent prizes. Congratulations to all 16 of this year’s winners!

Volunteers with ivy pile at Uplands Park (Photo by Wylie Thomas)

Volunteers with ivy pile at Uplands Park (Photo by Wylie Thomas)

"I have been volunteering for years! I watched the logging that took place before the Nature Conservancy of Canada took over the Cowichan Garry Oak Preserve, and I like to see that we’re making progress,” said Susan Smith. “I do a lot of different environmental activities, but volunteering at the Cowichan Garry Oak Preserve is one that is very close to home for me. I enjoy chatting with the other volunteers as we do our weeding and planting."

The race may be over but there are still many ways to get involved with Garry oak ecosystems:

  • Join the celebration of spring at the annual In-Bloom Wildflower Festival on Saturday, April 27 at the Cowichan Garry Oak Preserve. You can explore the Garry oak meadows while the spring flowers are in full bloom, all the while learning from education stations scattered around this unique “living laboratory.”
  • Learn the latest science, tips and strategies for restoring these endangered landscapes as the Garry Oak Ecosystem Recovery Team hosts their 14th annual restoration and research conference.

Continue to volunteer with Nature Conservancy of Canada and our partners CRD regional parks, Friends of Uplands Park, Greater Victoria Green Team, Habitat Acquisition Trust, Haliburton Farm, Parks Canada, Saanich Parks, Salt Spring Island Conservancy, Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society and Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary.

Supporter Spotlight

http://www.natureconservancy.ca/en/what-you-can-do/donate/Monthly_gift.html