This story comes to us from Conservation Youth Crew member Amanda Wik.
On Monday morning, the Lower Mainland Conservation Youth Crew packed up the work truck with camping supplies and headed up to the Sunshine Coast!
The Nature Trust of BC owns five conservation properties along the Sunshine Coast, and once a year the crew adventures there to manage and monitor them.
The visit started with Cranberry Lake, just outside of Powell River. This property sits right on the edge of a lake and is habitat for waterfowl and the endangered painted turtle. The crew spent the afternoon surveying the property, observing wildlife (we spotted a deer and two babies!) and removing invasive scotch broom that was bordering the property edge.
That night, we camped at the Saltery Bay Campground in Mermaid Cove. We spent the evening observing the bioluminescence and stargazing.
We drove to Lund and took a water taxi across the channel to Savary Island.
Savary Island is a unique island that is 7 km long and only 1 km across! It’s bordered by white sandy beaches and is home to rare coastal dune ecosystems. The Nature Trust recently acquired a property in the heart of the island to conserve some of the natural ecosystems from development.
The crew spent the day walking the beaches and dunes to monitor the health of the land and survey the plants for the many red-listed species that grow there, including contorted-pod evening-primrose.
The next day, we headed to Gunboat Bay, which is a large property enclosing a bay with mud flats.
This area is highly visited by a diversity of wildlife. We saw footprints of deer, raccoon and lots of other critters in the mud! The rest of the property is completely covered by dense plants, making it largely inaccessible to the public. But, before the Nature Trust acquired the property, this area was used for logging and evidence of this remains. We removed several barbed wire fences that could have become harmful to the abundant wildlife.
That night we camped at Porpoise Bay Campground near Sechelt where we enjoyed the sandy beach and played lots of boardgames.
For our last day on the Sunshine Coast, we met up with the Sechelt park rangers to work in Francis Point Provincial Park. We spent the morning building a boardwalk and covering unofficial trails that visitors were making. It’s important to stay on official trails to protect sensitive ecosystems, like the rocky cliffs in Francis Point that are home to rare species of moss and lichen, including Reindeer Lichen and Juniper Haircap Moss. While exploring the rest of the trail system, we found a small patch of invasive blackberries. We quickly removed the plants and hopefully prevented blackberry spread in that area of the park.
Our last stop was Sechelt Marsh, a small conservation park in the middle of town that is home to ducks and other birds. The crew surveyed the invasive and native plants and replaced some of the signs.
The crew had lots of fun on the Sunshine Coast, exploring The Nature Trust of BC’s conservation properties and using the skills we learned over the summer field season. A great adventure to cap off our season.