Proceedings Now Published
The Proceedings for the GOERT 12th Research Colloquium 2016 are available as of January 16, 2017.
Marie Fidoe was the first landowner to sign on to the Back To Our Roots Project in October, 2015. Since then this avid gardener has been busy weeding, mulching, and preparing areas of her large Esquimalt yard for some of the native plants that were recommended by our naturescaping expert Pat Johnston during an on-site consultation. On March 30, 2016, Marie’s property was the first to be assessed for certification. She was elated to discover that she has already achieved the requirements for Level 1 Green certification. Marie intends to add more indigenous plants when the autumn rains eliminate the need for supplemental watering. If all goes according to her plan, she will likely need to trade the Green sign in for a Level 2 Gold certification sign.
Marie commented that Back To Our Roots is “a great, easy homeowner geared project. I appreciate the knowledge and encouragement”. The free expert advice and resource materials were provided with funding support from Environment Canada’s Habitat Stewardship Program and Capital Regional District Parks and Environmental Services.
For more information about the Back To Our Roots Gardening For Nature Project, please click here.
You may think it wouldn’t be hard to find a bright orange, black and white butterfly. But Taylor’s Checkerspot (Euphydryas editha taylori) butterflies are difficult to spot because they’re small and extremely rare. Finding and monitoring these butterflies and their larvae are just a few of the challenges facing a team of more than 25 dedicated scientists and local residents collaborating to recover the species.
On March 7 and 8, sixteen very excited Taylor’s Checkerspot Recovery Project members and community volunteers gently placed more than 1000 precious Checkerspot larvae (caterpillars) into a butterfly reserve within Denman Island Provincial Park and Protected Area. The event was a coordinated effort, with larval release sites carefully chosen, weeded and prepared with healthy food plants for larvae in advance. Following release, local residents and BC Ministry of Environment staff will continue to monitor the larvae as long as they can find them.
Approximately 250 more larvae will be released in the coming weeks and adult butterfly counts are planned for May. The larvae were raised at a captive rearing facility managed by Denman Island resident and passionate conservationist Peter Karsten. It’s operated with help from local volunteers, with seasonal staff and funding provided by Wildlife Preservation Canada. Captive butterfly rearing and releases are among many Taylor’s Checkerspot recovery actions planned and made possible with support from BC Ministry of Environment, BC Parks, BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Environment Canada’s Habitat Stewardship Program, the Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team, and the Greater Vancouver Zoo.
Taylor’s Checkerspot butterflies once occurred in over 20 places on southeastern Vancouver Island, from Courtenay to Victoria. Now, Denman Island is the only place in Canada where they are found in the wild! They’re clinging to survival within small portions of ephemeral wetland and meadow habitat in the new Denman Island Provincial Park and Protected Area and a few private properties. One of Canada’s rarest species, Taylor’s Checkerspot is federally listed as Endangered under the Species At Risk Act and is on the B.C. Conservation Data Centre Red List.
Please click here if you would like to learn more about the Taylor’s Checkerspot Recovery Project.
Thanks to funding from Environment Canada and the Capital Regional District for the 2015-16 fiscal year, GOERT launched a gardening for nature project last fall called Back to Our Roots. It’s a habitat certification program that provides landowners with on-site expert advice, helpful resource materials, technical assistance, and incentives to help them plan and complete ‘naturescape’ projects.
The goal of the project is to work with property owners to help nature by:
Several gardeners signed up for the project and scheduled one of our native plant experts (Pat Johnston, Kristen Mikelly, Louise Goulet) to assess their property, discuss their landscaping ideas, and provide advice. Afterwards, the experts prepared lists of recommended plants or more detailed planting plans that would be suitable for the specific growth conditions on the property. Over the winter project participants have been busy planning, weeding, and other steps to prepare their yards. Some of them have even started planting. We’re looking forward to seeing the results of their labour!
For more information about the project, or to sign up, check out the new Back to Our Roots section on this website.
This has been a busy and exciting year for everyone associated with the Taylor’s Checkerspot Butterfly Recovery Project. Community volunteers, Ministry of Environment (BC Parks) staff and contracted crews spent many winter and spring days in the Denman Island Park and Protected Area Butterfly Reserve, removing Scotch Broom and felling trees that were encroaching on meadow areas needed for butterfly habitat. They planted butterfly food and larval host plants in and around small ponds that were constructed last year, and installed an information kiosk and benches nearby.Meanwhile, at the Taylor’s Checkerspot Conservation Breeding Facility (TCCBF) larvae emerged from their overwintering diapause state. TCCBF manager Peter Karsten and his helpers carefully tended to their needs and prepared the most robust larvae for a historic event. After years of planning and preparation, the first Taylor’s Checkerspot larvae from a Canadian breeding facility were released into the Butterfly Reserve in late March and early April.
A few weeks later 57 adult butterflies were also released. As the butterflies settled into their new home in the Buttefly Reserve, Andrew Fyson and John Mills of the Taylor’s Checkerspot Community Working Group (TCCWG) were thrilled to watch three females lay eggs!
The recovery project wants to share the excitement with Denman Islanders during a Taylor’s Checkerspot Butterfly Recovery Project Open House event at Back Hall on December 2. Doors open at 6:30 pm for those who wish to mingle and look at the information posters. Presentations begin at 7 pm. Project partners (BC Ministry of Environment, BC Parks, Denman Conservancy Association, Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team, Greater Vancouver Zoo, TCCWG, TCCBF, and Wildlife Preservation Canada) will provide updates about the project and plans for the future. There will be a video, information posters, slide shows, and refreshments.
The butterflies still need help from their friends to survive. If you wish to volunteer to help maintain butterfly habitat in Denman Park and Protected Area, please contact John Mills, Co-Chair of the Taylor’s Checkerspot Community Working Group (email@example.com). If you are interested in helping with the native plant garden in the Butterfly Reserve or want to help restore Helliwell Park’s coastal bluff habitat, contact Volunteer Coordinator Deborah Bishop.