30 trees for 30 years: Volunteers celebrate PKOLS Mount Douglas Park

Saanich Mayor Dean Murdoch joins Darrell Wick and Murray Rankin at the end of the new Douglas Creek bridge. (Hollie Ferguson/News Staff)Saanich Mayor Dean Murdoch joins Darrell Wick and Murray Rankin at the end of the new Douglas Creek bridge. (Hollie Ferguson/News Staff)
Volunteers help dig a hole to plant a tree to mark the 30th anniversary of PKOLS (Mount Douglas Park) being placed under the care of Saanich. (Hollie Ferguson/News Staff)Volunteers help dig a hole to plant a tree to mark the 30th anniversary of PKOLS (Mount Douglas Park) being placed under the care of Saanich. (Hollie Ferguson/News Staff)
The outdoor classroom and bridge at Douglas Creek. (Hollie Ferguson/News Staff)The outdoor classroom and bridge at Douglas Creek. (Hollie Ferguson/News Staff)
The stairs to the beach at PKOLS are expected to be finished the first week of December. (Hollie Ferguson/News Staff)The stairs to the beach at PKOLS are expected to be finished the first week of December. (Hollie Ferguson/News Staff)
New signage helps connect visitors with nature. (Hollie Ferguson/News Staff)New signage helps connect visitors with nature. (Hollie Ferguson/News Staff)
A volunteer with PKOLS-Mount Douglas Conservancy helps Murray Rankin loosen tree roots before planting. (Hollie Ferguson/News Staff)A volunteer with PKOLS-Mount Douglas Conservancy helps Murray Rankin loosen tree roots before planting. (Hollie Ferguson/News Staff)
PKOLS-Mount Douglas Conservancy presents Saanich Mayor Dean Murdoch with $10,000 for the outdoor classroom and bridge. (Hollie Ferguson/News Staff)PKOLS-Mount Douglas Conservancy presents Saanich Mayor Dean Murdoch with $10,000 for the outdoor classroom and bridge. (Hollie Ferguson/News Staff)

PKOLS-Mount Douglas Conservancy planted trees and unveiled new sites at the park Saturday (Nov. 26) to mark the 30th anniversary of the grant which placed the park under the District of Saanich’s care.

The conservancy, formerly known as The Friends of Mount Douglas Park Society, announced the name change as part of the 30th-anniversary celebrations of British Columbia granting PKOLS (Mount Douglas Park) to the district.

“It was 30 years ago this week that Saanich council met to formally accept this grant for care of the park to Saanich,” said Darrell Wick, who works with the conservancy. “As park custodians, we need renewed energy to uphold the park.”

To commemorate the anniversary, the conservancy presented a restored area for students within the park dubbed the ‘outdoor classroom.’

This area features a bridge with new interpretive signs that help visitors connect with the surrounding nature, as well as a place to learn about the outdoors and engage with Douglas Creek, out of the way of dead or dangerous trees.

For the new outdoor classroom and bridge, the conservancy presented Saanich Mayor Dean Murdock with a cheque for $10,000, which is a part of a larger donation of $25,000 for restoration projects.

“I’d like to say how much I appreciate what has been done here today,” Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Murray Rankin said. “I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a group give money to government – that in itself is worth noting.”

To celebrate the 30th anniversary, volunteers helped to plant 30 trees on the trail leading up to the bridge as well as near the beach.

“Conservancy connotes stewardship, it connotes hard work, and you’ve seen it in action,” Rankin said. “To think this will be used for children for years to come, it makes me so proud.”

Rankin said the fact that salmon are returning to the area and students can use the creek to hatch eggs and learn about their life cycle and nature is a testament to the hard work of conservationists.

The trees planted were just 30 of 400 other shrubs and plants that will be put in the ground by the conservancy this winter.

For the first few years of the tree’s lives, volunteers will have to water them weekly, but after that, the native trees are able to flourish alone, adding life to an already green and luscious forest.

A ribbon cutting for a new set of stairs down to the beach was planned, however, weather has delayed construction. Barring any more heavy rains, the steps should be completed by the first week of December.

READ MORE: Saanich resident working to protect Mt. Douglas Park’s delicate ecosystems


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