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.
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/
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.
Now available for free download or purchase in hard copy on demand; Victoria’s Urban Forest by Val Schaefer with Britton Jacob-Schramm and photos by Rachel Grigg. The book chronicles Series 7 of the Urban Restoration Walks that highlighted Victoria’s urban forest in three separate walks. It focuses on the street trees around James Bay by Beacon Hill Park, the trees of Playfair Park and the edible food forest of Fernwood. Val gave a presentation on Victoria’s Urban Forest to the Victoria Horticultural Society on March 3, 2015.