Nature-based practice @ wildflower meadowsOn Tue, 2 June, 2020 - 17:39
June is the best time to be alive in the northern hemisphere. The optimism of spring is reaching a crescendo, the daylight continue stretching a bit longer with every day. As well, the creative life force that is so unique to this planet is perceptible in the smallest details. As a botanist, I relish the gradual witnessing of plants breaking dormancy, and progressing from green shoots to flowering and onwards to berries once pollinated.
Being underemployed in Vancouver BC during pandemic lockdown has benefited my nature-based practice immensely. I’ve been botanising locally, and even managed a trip to southern Vancouver Island, to check out one of my favourite semi-natural grassland ecosystems, the Garry oak meadow complex. This is an oak savannah system, where Garry oak (Quercus garryana) is the only woody species that towers dappled shade over colourful, diverse meadows of wildflowers, many of them restricted to spring-time.
To know plants by name is to know them as unique friends with particular tastes, habits and features. It is a joy to visit them and reflect on the intricate ecology and culture that has led to these beautiful displays and community assemblages. Indeed, these meadows were carefully tended to and managed by the First Nations, for whom the bulb of the camas was an important food source. Typically these ‘beds’ were burnt with prescribed fire, so as to nourish the herbs, which served as food and medicine, and keep woody plants at bay.
Given the date, I also made a video for the Native Bee Society of BC to celebrate World Bee Day! See it here.