Upcoming Events

The following are presentations and a course soon to be given by Val Schaefer:

Restoration of Natural Systems Program 20th Anniversary Celebration October 14, 2016.

Urban Tree Walk October 17, 2016. Fairfield. 10:00-12:00.

Urban Tree Walk. October 24, 2016. James Bay. 10:00-12:00

ER331 Urban Restoration and Sustainable Agriculture November 9-13 2016. A 5-day intensive course held on the University of Victoria campus.

Garry Oak Ecosystem Recovery Team Colloquium November 18, 2016.


Presentations at Society for Ecological Restoration International Conference in Manchester, England

Val  presented two papers at the upcoming SERI 2015 conference in Manchester, August 23-27. In the Soils in Restoration Ecology 1 session on the morning of Tuesday, August 25th he will present on “Soil micro-arthropods as indicator species to determine when a planting on a degraded site has become a functional ecological community.  On the afternoon of August 25 he will present in the Education 3 session on “Using problem-based learning to teach ecological restoration: Three examples.”

Rain Gardens Study Reports Available

The RNS Program undertook the Rainy Day Solutions Project to examine the biodiversity values of rain gardens, looking at plant ecology and garden design from the perspective of plant associations. The project was funded by the Real Estate Foundation of BC, Mitacs and the City of Victoria. This was part of a larger study in three parts – hydrology, contaminants and biodiversity. The Civil Engineering Program at the University of Victoria is investigating water flows and the Chemistry Department will be looking at contaminants. The City of Victoria will also be examining their rain gardens from the perspective of hydrology and chemical contaminants. The Rainy Day Solutions project conducted by the RNS Program compared rain gardens as they were designed to as-built to what has survived at the sites years later. The work was conducted by a combination of both student coursework for credit, graduate student research and paid student time. One new rain garden was also created as part of the study at Oak and Orca Bioregional School in Victoria. The reports are available from the “Rain Gardens” tab on this website.

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New Article on Ecosystem Thresholds

Val just published an article called “Detecting the threshold between ornamental landscapes and functional ecological communities: soil microarthropods as indicator species.” The paper was co-authored with Morgan Hocking, a colleague of his in the School of Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria. The article is at the following link:


Many of Val’s other scientific articles can be obtained through: https://www.academia.edu/

Fall Speaker Series “Reinventing Nature – Creating New Ecosystems”

Three Thursdays starting October 9. Pre-register on the University of Victoria Continuing Studies website.

Nature in cities is shaped by the built environment and the activities of people. Impervious surfaces, invasive species, structural soils and other factors contribute to the formation of new communities not natural to the area. These are new or “novel” ecosystems that recently are the subject of intense study and scrutiny. This speaker series examines three of these novel ecosystems in Victoria.

Rain Gardens October 9, 2014.

Managing ran water is increasingly a challenge as the region as the region continually urbanizes and replaces a landscape of vegetation with roads and rooftops. The increased runoff this creates is approaching the limit of the capacity of existing storm drains. Low impact development is one strategy to accommodate the increased volumes and rain gardens are an important option. Rain gardens are variable. They can be a little area on a private house property, small roadside infiltration structures (Atrium Building), small wetlands that include elements of environmental education or nature play (Oak and Orca Community School), small wetlands (BMW dealership in Vic West), larger wetlands with greater wildlife value (Fisherman’s Wharf), elaborate structures with mechanical drainage incorporated into the system. Paul de Greeff. Murdoch de Greef Inc.

Urban Farms October 16, 2014.

Although their primary role is to grow local produce, urban farms are increasingly created and managed to benefit wildlife as well. Madrona Farm is sensitive to the benefits of encouraging songbird habitat to help with the control of insect pests, leaving grassy borders around their fields that support bumblebees that pollinate their crops and established a corridor of trees connecting to forest patches on the property. At Haliburton Farm a wetland was created to encourage amphibians and bird boxes, bat boxes and salamander boards were placed around in the forest to enhance biodiversity. The chain link fence surrounding the farm is also being converted into a hedgerow. Purnima Govindarajulu, Haliburton Farm


Lakes in Garry Oak Ecosystems October 23, 2014.

Summit Park is one of the remnant Garry Oak ecosystems in Victoria. Located on top of a hill it has a panoramic view of the city and the Olympic Mountains. The branching patterns of the oaks are particularly picturesque. The hilltop has a large Smith Hill water reservoir, built in 1908, that is frequented by ducks. There is a lookout at the Telus tower that also has an attractive installation of community art depicting a Garry Oak ecosystem. We can find a lake in another Garry Oak ecosystem, Goodacre Lake in Beacon Hill Park. Thomas Munson, City of Victoria Parks.