Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Tree Planting

There's a wildlife underpass about 700 m from The West Wing which was put in with funds left over from Canada hosting the G8 Summit way back in 2002. All of the wildlife crossings here have cameras to record photos of the wildlife that use it, and ours averages some 40 animal/animal group crossings a month. One of the things that makes the crossings work better is when they are more natural, and to that end, a call went up a few weeks ago for helping to plant some trees near our underpass.

Our job was to dig up trees in one area, move them to the underpass and replant them. It was a Parks initiative, promoted by Bow Valley Wildsmart. Almost 30 volunteers showed up, and we dug up two truckloads -- almost 80 -- baby conifer trees and some bushes from a densely forested area beside the highway about 3 km away.
Two trucks of trees and a bunch of diggers
Getting the trees out was no fun. These trees are impressive in that they seem to be able to grow in what is essentially a gravel/rock field. It took pickaxes to bust up the ground enough to get them out.

Where we planted them looked (at first glance) much nicer...
Next to the highway, the underpass about 50 m away
...but in fact there was but only 6" of "topsoil" and then one whole heck of a lot more rocks requiring more pickaxes.
The red flagged ones are new 
We planted ~40 here, plus there's ~30 were planted last year 
About 15 are planted here, plus 10 from last year
I thought 80 trees would make a bigger difference. I suspect to fill up this space, we'll have to keep doing this for years. I'm OK with that. Like the animals, I'm in it for the long run.

We also cut down about 500 invasive, non-native thistles, too. Barely a dent, but it's something.

I was impressed that it took so little time to fill up the two trucks. But when you have 10 teams of 3 people digging at the rate of about 6 trees per hour, that's 80 trees in slightly under 90 minutes. We were able to water them in after replanting faster than we could get water out of the tanks, too. Ah, what a dedicated army of volunteers can accomplish.

I'm hoping the next bear I meet thanks me for it. Or ignores me. Yeah, that would be better.

1 comment:

Edwin said...

Nice post on some nice, rewarding voluntary work!