Earth Day Gets “Hands On” in Stanley Park

Earth Day is every day for SPES in Stanley Park! On April 23 we hosted a “hands on” ecology event in the Park to showcase our conservation initiatives. Over 230 people showed up to weave, pull and wrap their way through Earth Day activities….

MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert, Park Board Chair Sarah Kirby-Yung, and Commissioners Stuart Mackinnon and John Coupar were on hand to welcome the crowd at the Nature House viewing plaza above Lost Lagoon. Thanks to a unique Operating Arrangement with the Park Board, SPES provides educational programming and habitat stewardship in Stanley Park, and we are especially grateful for the Park Board’s support of our education and conservation initiatives.

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L to R: Stuart Mackinnon (VPB), Sarah Kirby-Yung (VPB), John Coupar (VPB), Spencer Chandra Herbert (MLA), Patricia Thomson (SPES), Doug Devlin (Stanley Park Brewery), Maria Egerton (SPES)

One of these initiatives blends art and science to “upcycle” plant waste generated from habitat restoration efforts in the Park. Sharon Kallis, environmental artist, led Earth Day participants in a basket weaving session using invasive plants pulled and dug from the Park. Himalayan blackberry, English ivy and holly were transformed into useful works of art, while the ivy was also woven into “bionetting” to stabilize eroded slopes in Stanley Park. If you’d like to help us restore wildlife habitat in the Park, register with our Eco Stewards at stewardship@stanleyparkecology.ca or call 604-718-6547.

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Earth Day participants weave English ivy into baskets. (Photo by Kari Pocock)

Our upcycling work and other volunteer-led Park projects are profiled in a new Nature House exhibit, “Conservation Corner.” The exhibit was unveiled this day to a welcoming crowd, and TD Friends of the Environment staff were on hand to show their support for the upcycling project highlighted in the exhibit. Thanks also to EcoAction, Patagonia and HSBC Freshwater Initiatives in Stanley Park for their ongoing support of our conservation efforts. And a shout out to Ethical Bean coffee who provided us with fresh beans for a bottomless pot of coffee in the Nature House!

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Wrapping trees at Lost Lagoon. (Photo by Kari Pocock)

Following the exhibit launch, Earth Day participants helped us with one of our many conservation efforts: tree wrapping. Anyone walking around Lost Lagoon can see the impact of the Lagoon’s resident beavers: chew marks and fallen trees abound. Only significant trees are wrapped in wire mesh to deter the beavers, leaving enough alternative food options for these busy rodents. 

Beavers are tough to spot on the Lagoon as they are typically crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk), but Stanley Park Brewery offered a “display” beaver at their tent which proved popular with kids and passing dogs. Proceeds from sales of the brewery’s tasty Windstorm Ale support SPES’ stewardship of Stanley Park’s forests.

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Stanley Park Brewery’s Neesha Hothi poses with “Justin Beaver” and SPES Executive Director Patricia Thomson. (Photo by Kari Pocock)

Finally, we couldn’t accomplish any of our work for Stanley Park without our volunteers. Nearly 500 strong, our volunteer force is active in our school programs, wildlife and habitat surveys, invasive plant removal, communications and more! Even the tasty Earth Day chocolate nests were baked by our “cookie baker” volunteer.

Happy Earth Day to everyone!… and, as many requested, here’s the recipe for those nests….

EARTH DAY BIRDS NESTS

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Chocolate nests. (Photo by Kari Pocock)

INGREDIENTS                                                                        

  • 2 (12 oz) bags milk chocolate chips
  • 1 (12 oz) bag chow mien noodles
  • Cadbury chocolate eggs

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a large microwave safe bowl, melt chocolate chips together in microwave, stirring every 30 seconds.
  2. Stir in chow mien noodles.
  3. Spray muffin tins lightly with cooking spray.
  4. Drop by spoonfuls into a greased muffin tin and mold into nest shapes.
  5. Let set, you can also place in the refrigerator to help them set up faster.
  6. Place eggs on top.

– By Kathleen Stormont, SPES Communications & Fundraising Specialist