This story comes from Sammy Penner, the Lower Mainland Field Operations Technician
On Friday, Oct 23, the Nature Trust of BC travelled to Savary Island for a four day long work trip. The focus of the trip was to remove Scotch Broom, a highly invasive plant that outcompetes native species. Efforts were led by Sammy Penner, Lower Mainland Field Operations Technician with The Nature Trust, volunteer Jilian Smyl, and locals from the Savary Island community.
Savary Island has a unique ecosystem containing coastal sand dunes. On these sandy banks lie endangered species such as Contorted-pod Evening Primrose, Grey Rock Moss, Beach Bindweed and Dune Wildrye. These are some of the species the Nature Trust of BC is working to protect. Removing Scotch Broom will give these at-risk plants a chance to repopulate and thrive.
Before the October trip, Sammy visited the island to map and collect data on the Scotch broom invasive plant that has widely spread throughout the island. This data was then analyzed and a prescription for invasive species management was prepared by Phil Henderson with Strix Environmental. This trip started the implementation of the invasive plant prescription. A small volunteer group dedicated their time to remove hundreds of Scotch Broom plants, and the Savary Island Volunteer Fire Department helped to safely dispose of the plants with a beach burn. Thanks also to Liz Webster, for contributing her knowledge of broom pull techniques and logistics.
Local Catherine Ostler participated in the event, “I have seen the beach flowers flourish as a result of my family’s efforts to keep Scotch broom out of our little piece of Savary Island, so I jumped at the chance to help out with the Nature Trust’s broom pull. I met some positive, environmentally-minded people, had fun, and relished the opportunity to give the endangered contorted-pod evening-primrose a chance to regain its place in the sand dune ecology. It was a day well spent.”
Another two locals, Cathy and Terry Zalischuk said this about volunteering with The Nature Trust, “Being new owners on Savary Island, volunteering with Nature Trust on this project was a great start giving back to nature for allowing us the pleasure of being in such a beautiful environment. We didn’t expect to learn so much from Sammy about why broom is so invasive, how it chokes out the natural flora and doesn’t allow for the sand to go on its natural, ever moving journey.”
The Nature Trust acquired the property in ‘The Heart of Savary’ in 2018. Since then, efforts have been made with local people to maintain and restore this unique property and preserve the biodiversity of life it contains. With the hard work of volunteers, The Nature Trust of BC is one step closer to restoring the beautiful and rare coastal sand dune ecosystems that are so important to Savary Island.