The Park is now invasive free
Stewardship Fervour | 5yr Strategy (2017-2021)
In North Saanich, an ecosystem revival has occurred at Quarry Park (4th year in-progress). We started spring 2017. So far over 115 induvial people have volunteered 482hrs over 12 events.
On September 25, 2017, I wrote, “I’m big on Quarry Park! It’s achievable… It’s a big surge — can you picture the glory of this achievement?”
End-March 2020 I reported to the Friends of North Saanich Parks that Quarry Park was done! Even I’m surprised with this rapid accomplishment. After 3yrs and over a total of 800 hours, the entire park property is at Stage 6, plus some areas just outside the park have been pulled.
Part 1: QUARRY PARK (North Saanich)
Quarry Park is the most southern park in North Saanich, and when driving along East Saanich Road one can’t help but notice that stretch of unusually tall forest which is park. The park has a great forest floor which can host the full variety of natural forest plants and wildlife. There are several 250 year-old Douglas firs situated near the special cliff area. These big-old trees have watched over this area since the mid-1700s. Underneath the high southern cliff are two natural dens which can be used by mammals. The manmade 1930s granite quarry has metamorphosed into a natural environment, and has become an interesting place for kids to play, realise reclamation, and experience a local forest that is protected from development. To maintain a natural (as-possible) forest, it is important to set the stewardship example and inspire the next generations to maintain and/or improve what they have.
Part 2: MY HISTORY WITH QUARRY PARK
Autumn 1982, while in grade three at Sansbury Elementary, I first regularly biked to and hiked in Quarry Park. The park felt revitalized and welcoming. New cedar signs had been placed at both of the Horseshoe Trailheads, a round cedar picnic table with two chairs were placed in the middle of the quarry, and a bench was perfectly positioned above the southern cliff. My first impression was that Quarry Park was cared for. However, it didn’t take long for me to realise the park was becoming neglected.
In January 1991 (age 16), inspired by the Friends of John Dean Park, I attempted to start a Friends of Quarry Park. I created a basic pamphlet and delivered it to my entire paper route plus the nearby homes. Looking back, it was not surprising that I did not receive a single response. I also wrote North Saanich Council and later walked Quarry Park with the Parks Commission. The upshot was I learnt the commissioners wanted to inspire volunteers, and had plans to create a new Park Warden program. A few months later, I was invited to attend the municipal hall after school, and was one of the first people to be presented the new North Saanich Volunteer Green Ball Cap. This gift motivated my role at Quarry Park, and it continued until 1999 when I moved to East Sooke, and joined the Regular Armed Forces.
During the 1990s I was so heavily involved in removing broom and ivy from the flagship John Dean Park, I simply didn’t see Quarry as a priority. Also, because I was young, I didn’t have the necessary awareness I now possess, to take the essential preventive action. A major conflict of my time and true interest occurred with John Dean Park, so Quarry fell aside and only remained in my heart. By the mid-2000s, the ivy was spreading into Quarry Park, and Daphne, laurel, holly, and blackberry followed and established.
Part 3: FRIENDS OF NORTH SAANICH PARKS
- Sharon: firstname.lastname@example.org (Co-founder, Executive Director, North Saanich Liaison)
- Jarrett: email@example.com (Quarry Park Steward and Technical Advisor)
- Ashlee: firstname.lastname@example.org (Founder, Emeritus Standing, Advisor)
Thank goodness by 2017, Ashlee and Sharon had created Friends of North Saanich Parks. R.O. Bull, Denham Till, Lillian Hoffar, Nymph Point and Quarry Park, were the first parks to receive their attention, chiefly on the invasive species front. In 2018, work started in Gulf View Park. Some of their mission and vision statements are:
MISSION & VISION STATEMENTS
- “Our mission is to create stewardships for each park in North Saanich. There are 24 parks in North Saanich in need of restoring. We are removing invasive plant species out of these parks while building relationships with the community.”
- “The invasive plant species in North Saanich Parks are decreasing the biodiversity, suffocating native species and negatively impacting the ecosystem and its soils. Let’s work together to remove invasive plants out of our North Saanich parks and help the forests return to their natures state.”
- “We hope to remove all the invasive plant species out of a series of parks per year as well as support the development of stewardships for these parks.”
- “Let’s help restore the ecosystem and protect the animals and native plants.”
Such vision and leadership quickly got my attention, and I attended the first work parties at Quarry Park. We have now hosted or organized a dozen ivy pulls. We started along East Saanich Road, from inside the quarry upwards on all sides, worked around the quarry, and each time produced a large pile of debris. After each event, North Saanich municipal staff has removed a large pile of invasive plants and the accumulated garbage. Here are the “work party” events:
TOTAL WORK PARTIES HOURS: 582.5
- 29 Apr 17 | Friends & 10th Tsartlip Scouts | 12 volunteers, 3.75hrs | 45hrs
- 28 Oct 17 | Friends & 10th Tsartlip Scouts | 17 volunteers, 3.75hrs | 63.75hrs
- 25 Nov 17 | Friends | 8 volunteers, 4hrs | 32hrs
- 12 May 18 | Friends & Men’s Newcomers | 7 volunteers, 3.75hrs | 26.25hrs
- 16 Jun 18 | Friends & Green Team | 23 volunteers, 3.25hrs | 74.75hrs
- 20 Oct 18 | Friends & Green Team | 17 volunteers, 3.25hrs | 55.25hrs
- 5 Apr 19 | Friends | 7 volunteers | 21.75
- 11 May 19 | Friends & Green Team | 18 volunteers, 3.25hrs | 58.5
- 15 Jun 19 | Friends | 8 volunteers, 4hrs | 32hrs
- 10 Aug 19 | Friends | 12 volunteers, 4hrs | 45hrs
- 25 Aug 19 | Friends | 11 volunteers, 2.5hrs | 27.5hrs
- 2 Nov 19 | Green Team | 31 volunteers (8 were under age 8), 3.25hrs | 100.75hrs
- On November 25, 2017, Sharon wrote: “Let me congratulate you on being the first true Steward of a park under the North Saanich municipality through the Friends of North Saanich Parks.”
- On June 30, 2018, Sharon wrote: “Jarrett you are truly one of the most persistent people I know, congratulations on being a stellar example to others in terms of ecological volunteering. Good luck as you continue.”
- On August 19, 2019, Sharon wrote: “As you all know, it is extremely difficult to find committed volunteers and Jarrett is a valued member of the Friends of North Saanich Parks. He is the Steward of Quarry Park where we began work in during 2017.”
- On March 28, 2020, Sharon wrote: “Jarrett thanks for your hours everyone. Just to let you all know Jarrett completed Quarry Park on his-own, so we can move it into monitoring on schedule! Well done Jarrett!”
- On 7 Apr 2020, Ashlee wrote: “A big congratulations to you!!!!! Quarry Park is very lucky to have such a dedicated Steward. You are an inspiration! Thank you so much for all you do. I will have to take a walk through and admire all the native flowers that will come up now that they are free to do so.”
QUARRY PARK and GULF VIEW PARK
Quarry Park is now completed and has an operating plan in-place to regularly patrol each zone indefinitely for invasive regrowth and removal.
Gulf View Park at the base of Dean Park Road on East Saanich is next. Luckily Al Michel has taken on this park as the Steward. We started at Gulf View last year; please help the Friends of North Saanich Parks to restore this park by giving a couple hours of your time. If you’re interested in restoring a local park, contact Sharon, email@example.com
Part 4: MY 2017-20 QUARRY PARK WORKFLOW (Quarry Park Steward)
- Removed major garbage (two trucks were filled);
- Boundary awareness achieved, every property pin was located;
- Ivy was severed from tree bases;
- The parks ivy was mapped, and a five-year removal plan was planned/plotted;
- North Saanich staff removed blackberry from inside the quarry; wheel ruts were leveled and the quarry became an attractive parklike setting;
- Participated and/or lead the work parties;
- Daphne, laurel, holly, and blackberry are removed as discovered. Ivy is removed in priority, and stages;
- The high south area was cleaned of garbage and the old picnic table was removed;
- Old kids forts and bike jumps were dismantled and sites restored;
- Major holly and blackberry were removed south of the quarry;
- To achieve full ivy removal, my strategy was to properly remove ivy working from inside the inside outwards and from the outer boundary inwards and/or as inspired to work. The oldest and deepest two patches were throughout the upper flat area which was achieved spring 2019. The lower SE corner was achieved spring 2020; and
- The last of the old wire fencing and posts were removed from along the ditch, summit and the north line; and
- For public outreach and interpretation, two videos were created to showcase the results of invasive removal, engage young learners, and to promote the benefits of park stewardship ethics.
Part 5: QUARRY PARK IVY ZONES (spring 2020)
|1 – Inside Quarry, and up to the surrounding Horseshoe Trail
||a) Quarry bottom
b) North slope to trail
c) East cliff
d) South slope to trail
|a) Stage 7
b) Stage 7
c) Stage 7
d) Stage 7
|2 – Roadside
||a) 1st power pole
b) 2nd power pole
c) SW corner
|a) Stage 7
b) Stage 7
c) Stage 4
|3 – South of Quarry, outside of Horseshoe Trail
||a) Trail to fallen log
b) Fallen log to cliff base
c) SW of cliff base
d) South line
|a) Stage 7
b) Stage 6
c) Stage 6
d) Stage 6
|4 – North of Quarry, outside of Horseshoe Trail
||a) North trailhead
b) Trail to north boundary
|a) Stage 7
b) Stage 7
|5 – Adjoining ivy patches
||a) SE corner below road
b) SE corner above road
c) SSW corner, south of fence
|a) Stage 3
b) Stage 3
c) Stage 3
IVY REMOVAL STAGES (2020 current thinking)
- Prep and Initial Removals;
- Major Removal;
- Inspection; and
- Commit (long-term monitoring & taking action).
Part 6: THE VALUE OF TIME EXPENDED
English ivy (Hedera helix) is an evergreen vine that is renowned as a serious, smothering invasive plant. When planted by mankind, or when eventually birds deposit seeds, it quickly grows and forms a dense monoculture groundcover that suppresses the natural vegetation, and the forest floor becomes unsuitable for native creatures and birds. Also, the vines climb the trees, and during heavy winds or when snow and ice intensify, trees with heavy ivy are forced down.
From an ecological perspective, invasive species upset the balance of an ecosystem. Also, the synergy that comes from caring for a natural ecosystem is experienced in so many ways. In summary, there are many major benefits to removing invasive plants:
- Trees of all sizes are conserved;
- Sunlight increases, native flora and fauna flourishes;
- The forest floor returns to a natural vegetated state;
- The chemistry of soil balances; nutrients and ecosystem return to an equilibrium;
- The ecological condition naturalises, slugs, snails and amphibians increase;
- The number of birds visiting and feeding greatly increases;
- Visitors experience and enjoy a natural forest environment, wellness increases;
- Neighbors to the park experience the benefits of a more accessible natural space;
- Children come to play; the park is cherished for multiple decades;
- The park becomes a welcoming and a special place to spend time; the community responds, parks staff and political resources are allocated;
- The park becomes an architype (natural museum). People experience a non-invasive forest environment; and
- A model of stewardship is established, maintained and displayed. Today’s youth see that a park can be restored and be cared for. In-turn Quarry Park or the parks where they will reside in the future may be restored by them decades later. The results are twofold, physically within the Quarry Park and exponentially into the future when the next generation understands the thinking of park health, ecology and proper park management.
Part 7: AUTUMN 2021 GOAL (achieved one year earlier)
Quarry Park has been a major undertaking (far surpasses Illahie). My plan was to achieve stage 6 (Inspection/extensive examination, declared ivy free) by November 2021. This was achieved in April 2020. The amount of ivy at Quarry Park was ten times larger than the Illahie patch was at John Dean Park. The only difference was that the Illahie ivy was 80 years old, 8” deep and well established. At Quarry Park there were three types of ivy, big leaf, medium leaf and thin vine, all were 30+ years old, only 2-3” deep, however it covered a much larger and complex area/terrain.
The ivy at Quarry Park entered the park from the roadside and/or birds deposited seeds while sitting in specific trees. This occurred during the mid-1980s which resulted in five separate origins of growth which spread in every direction. In only three decades, a few deposits of ivy seeds grew, took over along the road, the upper flat area and spread into the quarry, along the north line and in the SE corner. Luckily for Quarry Park, the ivy wasn’t deep, and it could be conquered. The only reality I foresee is that ivy surrounds the park on many private properties, and will surely re-enter the park. I’ll complete Stage 6 and commit to Stage 7 (commitment to long-term monitoring & action), plus take out other nearby patches. However to sustain the achievement after my lifetime, a caring and engaged level of stewardship will be required. Either the municipality of North Saanich or a future Friends of Quarry Park will be required to be on scene and take the necessary long-time removal actions. I’ll approach this in the same way as was done at Illahie within John Dean Park (1997-2009, plus onwards). Illahie took 13 years to properly arrive at stage 7. Quarry Park arrived at Stage 6 during the spring of 2020 (3 years). Full stage 7 will be underway by the summer of 2021.
As of this writing, 115 people have attended at least one ivy event, thank-you so much. Please help us restore Gulf View Park by giving a couple hours of your time. If you’re interested, contact Sharon or Jarrett. See you at Quarry or Gulf View Park . . .
Part 8: VALUE and WORTH
For years and years I’ve been told that “volunteering is volunteering”, better yet that “volunteering is a gift of time”. I believe these quick decrees have turned off multiple dozens of people, especially younger potentials.
I should declare my age is 45, and that I’ve worked with volunteer executives for 30 years. With the exception of my first years with the Friends of John Dean Park, I’ve never been compensated for clothing or expenses. I’ve found that most executives consist of those new to the area, ages average mid-60s, and they aren’t able to connect their executive position to the actual beneficial result of producing physical works, inspirations and/or creating a succession plan. I believe creating a vision and sharing a passion sets the goals which provides a vision and sets a desired outcome.
Since 2009, my ratio recompense thinking has been $1 per hour; I must mention that although I’ve suggested this idea, I’ve never received reimbursement for fuel, clothing, admin etc. Conversely since taking on Quarry Park in 2017 my thinking has involved. I Now believe if money is available, a 3rd time volunteer should receive a tip from a Friends/Society of $2 per hour for time worked which would compensate expenses incurred. The result would be that a committed regular feels acknowledged, appreciated and will likely be retained for many vital years, most likely the long term. Sadly my experience has repeatedly taught me that hopeful volunteers disappear before they become self-interested in taking on projects/goals.
At this time, the only way for a volunteer to express their contribution which includes preparation, transport time, time worked, special laundry, tools maintenance, footwear or clothing replacement, volunteer log submission and communication time is by reporting the “volunteer hours worked”; to provide those hours to a volunteer manager and/or park manager, and that that’s the end-of-the correspondence. Barely a thank-you is received from management. Which in-turn leaves the volunteer thinking, “who are you to thank-me?” This is the biggest volunteer system failure (who really cares is generated). I could report 3 or 30hrs in a month and it all falls on death ears; usually at the level of people who don’t really care.
For John Dean Park, I’ve always felt my ratio was near 25%. At Quarry Park, due to my advanced experience and interests in tracking such efforts/time/costs, I was very surprised to learn my time ratio is 66%. This high percentage makes me actually laugh aloud, however it’s the reality. To properly have someone (like myself) work 3hrs, actually means 5hrs. This 66% is time only, and has nothing to do with fuel, clothing and footwear, snacks and water and tool maintenance etc.
I understand that those who haven’t committed to a project or given + given will not be able to understand or connect with my thinking/experience. My message is not to benefit myself, rather to enable and/or provide a platform whereby future volunteers are properly supported which in-turn will grow the volunteer pool and enable the emergence of park stewards. The scope of recruiting and retaining a committed volunteer is worth an essay unto itself. I believe the definition of value and worth is rarely thought about and is almost always underestimated. Any hard-core volunteer will instantly connect with my thinking towards: effort of planning, executing time on-scene, snacks and beverages, extra meal on route home, special laundry, drying boots, physically recovering, volunteer log, communicating with the coordinator and planning the next visit.
When I look back over the past three years at Quarry Park, to do this again I’d gladly pay a promising teenager $15 per hour to follow me and assist. I’d do this to help myself, and to also have the opportunity to mentor and influence the next generation with lasting impressions of work ethic, mentality, commitment and whereby they’ll receive the base knowledge to take on their own future projects themselves.
I’ve grown to the point whereby I now accept and believe that when a person of average income (like me) becomes driven to completing a park restoration project, there is an option to also privately fund the project. Thanks to my mid-life hindsight, I now recognise how much money I’ve spent at a nearby pubs after each volunteer day. That type of money could have been so easily gifted to an apprentice. If that gift occurs, the upshot is the younger person grows, learns from the best, achieves a senior role of knowledge and understands the overall situation, and will thereby become dedicated to the goals of the project. The result is labour is accomplished and the memory of what happened is preserved within a younger person who’ll most likely recall the park revival many decades later.
Shared time with:
- Bee (stung in head)
- Rough-skinned newt
- Blue Jay
- Saw Black Bear droppings (March 2020)
- Broom; and
- Blue Bell.
Volunteer Clothing Consumed Costs:
- Boots x 2;
- Pants x 3;
- T-shirt x 3;
- Sock x 12;
- Underwear x 3; and
- Belt x 1.
Volunteer Additional Costs:
- Car, fuel;
- Car, vacuum;
- Laundry Soap;
- Scrub Brush;
- Garbage Bags;
- Rental, pin finder;
- Purchase, 18” wire cutter;
- Purchase replacement of tools.
FURTHER READING & VIEWING
The Ivy story that occurred at John Dean Provincial Park (1997-2009).
Quarry Park Revived 1 | North Saanich (April 2020)
Quarry Park Revived 2 | North Saanich (April 2020)
IVY REMOVAL STAGES FOR QUARRY PARK
English Ivy (Hedera helix): Hedera is Latin for Ivy, helix is Latin for spiral
If there’s one continuous theme . . . it’s removing roots
The best time to remove ivy is when you have:
- Motivation; and
|Stage 1 is about locating park/property boundaries. Divide the park into ivy zones generally equal in size/effort/time. These zones generally fit between natural boundaries.
Photograph all zones. Create a folder for all images.
Write a mission statement. List the zones in priority. Although the end-state is to remove all ivy within the park, categorise each zone as:
Work within different zones can start at different times. Work parties and individuals can work towards and complete specific stages within a zone.
Leaders commit to mission and attract volunteers and/or organize work parties.
|Specific ivy zones are established.
Digital archive is established.
Goals are set. Mission statement is available.
The priority of planned work is understood.
Leadership is inspired and recognises the value of these words:
|Stage 2 is all about the zone safety and the preparation required prior to the arrival of a work party. Remove eye poking branches and sticks. Remove holly, laurel, blackberry and Daphne.
Remove branches and sharp debris from the work party start point.
Remove known garbage.
Server ivy vines on trees at 6’ above the ground, and dig out all surrounding roots. Ensure all roots are removed from the trees base.
|Area is safe for the entry of new volunteers to work.
All other invasive plants are gone, which will direct the focus of the work party specifically on ivy.
Oblivious garbage is removed.
Ivy on trees dies, sunlight is increased, and future vegetation growth will increase.
|Stage 3 is when the first-time major removal occurs, preferably by a work party. Teach volunteers to gently pull ivy slips from the ground. Attempt to remove as many roots (and sub-roots) as possible. Typically 90% of the ivy is removed.
Try to avoid damaging the larger natural vegetation. However scouring the ground is encouraged. The priority is ivy removal by the root, vegetation regrowth will occur (guarantied).
Remove garbage as it’s found.
|90% of the ivy covering the ground has been removed.
Native vegetation begins to grow.
Area is almost garbage free.
|Stage 4 is the most important stage, especially for committed Stewards.
Revisit the area one month after the first-time major removal.
– Grub how; and
Remove the remaining ivy. Work in 3’ stretches, search under ferns, logs and rocks. Ensure all known ivy is removed. Remove all roots (all sizes) as discovered. Ensure all roots surrounding the trees have been properly removed.
To ensure all roots are removed, feel free to scour the ground. The priority is to remove all roots.
Remove garbage as it’s found.
|Remaining Ivy is fully removed.
Roots are removed.
Zone is declared properly pulled / Stage 4 completed.
Native vegetation is growing.
Area is garbage free.
|Stage 5 is a confirmation stage for each zone. It is specifically entrusted to Park Stewards.
Revisit the area several months after the one month follow-up (month 4-6). Start at one end of the zone, and extensively search back and forth in 3’ stretches. This is a methodical slow time evolution:
1) Remove old ivy that was missed;
2) Remove new ivy which has sprouted; and
3) It’s important to remove every root as it’s discovered; this will ensure everything gets done. Use plyers as needed.
|Ivy is confirmed removed.
Roots are confirmed removed.
The zone is declared properly searched, and Stage 5 is declared completed.
|Stage 6 is the final confirmation/inspection stage for a particular zone. It includes many visits to each zone over a two year timeframe.
Revisit each zone twice every six months. Wear running shoes versus boots. Conduct ongoing searches for sprouting ivy. Technically remove all found ivy (by the root). Ensure all roots are correctly removed. Conduct exhaustive searches twice every six months as follows:
1) Months 12-18 x 2
2) Months 19-24 x 2
3) Months 25-36 x 2
|The last remaining ivy is removed.
Ivy doesn’t reappear.
Zone by zone is formally declared ivy-free. The future sustainment has begun.
The proper completion of Stage 6 means that the zone is completed.
|Stage 7 is reserved for when all zones have achieved Stage 6. This is a commitment stage versus removal stage.
Park Stewards recommit to long-term monitoring/action.
Write the story, use pictures.
Host a celebration party.
Recruit and plan for succession.
|Ivy doesn’t reappear. The park is declared ivy-free. The park is under long-time monitoring/action.
The successful result is documented and made public. The effort is celebrated.
Volunteers are acknowledged and thanked.
Key Stewards are inspired to own the title Ivy Free. Younger people are inspired to maintain the title Ivy Free, which should be declared every five years.
My 2009 Ivy Removal stages:
- Stage 1, major pull, vines and roots;
- Stage 2, surgical removal of roots completed;
- Stage 3, confirmed surgical removal, area root secure;
- Stage 4, extensive examination, declared ivy free;
- Stage 5, exhaustive inspection & action, confirmed ivy free;
- Stage 6, declared 100% ivy free; and
- Stage 7, commitment to long-term monitoring & action.
Lessons worth passing on to others:
- Divide the property into zones; label each zone as essential, required or desirable;
- Prep areas prior to the initial ivy pull; remove all holly, blackberry, Daphne and sever ivy vines from the trees and remove the ivy roots;
- When removing ivy, focus on and accomplish one square meter at a time;
- Work where planed and/or follow your spirit;
- Ensure ivy is fully removed from underneath logs and ferns;
- Remove ivy roots as they are sighted;
- Follow ivy stringers and ensure each vine is properly removed;
- Revisit areas recently pulled and remove anything missed;
- Revisit zones every three months, remove anything missed;
- Continually revisit each area until ivy isn’t found; and
- Enjoy owning the areas, zones and sub-zones.
Quarry Park Steward, Friends of North Saanich Parks