Baikie Island has 200 or so more trees than it did a week ago thanks to the efforts of dedicated volunteers this weekend.
Greenways Land Trust, alongside some TD employees and other ecologically-minded community members, gathered for the fourth annual TD Tree Days event on Baikie Island last Saturday. Cynthia Bendickson with Greenways says it’s always a wonderful event and she’s happy to be a part of it every year.
That’s even true this year, she says, despite the fact that the area in which they were planting Saturday was a little more challenging than previous events. This was the first TD Tree Days event held on Baikie Island. Last year’s event added trees to the area around the Myrt Thompson Trail.
“In this area, particularly, but all over Baikie Island, when they did the restoration, they took out a huge amount of compacted soil and contaminated soil and took it out and replaced it with nice topsoil,” Bendickson says. “In this area here, there’s only about two inches of topsoil and underneath we’ve still got that compacted soil with lots of rocks and things in it. I pulled out a brick the other day and there was a spring, so we’ve still got remnants of industry down here under the soil, hiding away.”
The volunteers can’t just plant one type of tree when they do this, Bendickson says, all of which have unique needs – depth of hole needed to be dug, amount of water required to thrive, that kind of thing – so before they started there was quite a detailed lesson on the ecology of the area and how they would go about incorporating the new plants into the area.
“We’ve got a mix of native species. We’ve got twinberry, Nootka rose, we’ve got some fir trees, we’ve got thimbleberry, snowberry, black hawthorn, red osier dogwood, lots of different things,” Bendickson says.
The reason they can’t just plant one species, she says, is that another part of what they’re doing is dealing with “an insect problem.”
“What was planted here before was a lot of spruce trees and we ended up with a bit of an insect problem,” Bendickson says. “We’ve got a lot of spruce bud weevil here, which is actually a native species, but it really likes a monoculture – a lot of the same species in the same place – so we’re trying to diversify it a bit and plant some fir trees to grow up and shade out a lot of the bugs.”
The TD Tree Days initiative began in 2010 through the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, which says this year will see them plant their 300,000th tree.