AGM & SPEAKER
On March 3, before our AGM, Dr Richard Hebda frightened us and entertained us speaking about Climate Change and the Gulf Islands Environment. He first depressed us with data confirming that rapidly changing climate is raising sea-levels significantly and will greatly change the array of native plants that can live in the Gulf Islands environment (such as the loss of Western red cedar and hemlock), being unable to withstand drier conditions in summer or to adapt quickly enough. But then he heartened us with reminders of Gulf Island trees that may be happy in the new conditions, such as Garry oak and arbutus, and told us of ways to use appropriate native plantings more suitable to survival in a drier-summer, wetter-winter climate. He encouraged us to:
- protect our wetlands like Coats Marsh
- resist all healthy tree removal, especially the clearcutting of lots
- where trees must be cut or fall in the wind, toss them into the woods to rot into the forest soil
- remove and discourage invasive plants such as Daphne laureola and Scotch broom
- plant more resistant native species in invasive plants’ place, as well as in our gardens. He mentioned Ocean spray (ironwood), Thimbleberries, Stonecrop, Fawn lilies, June plum, sea blush, Nodding onion, Woolly sunflower, and Camas lilies, among others.
He also stated that the island was probably capable of being fully self-reliant for food, assuming we can capture the generous rainfall of winter. He cheered the gardeners among us considerably by suggesting the future possibility of growing olives and avocados here rather than importing them from California. He brought with him to distribute some interesting potatoes he had grown from seed, as well as some starts of “Nootka potatoes”, long established on Vancouver Island by very early settlers.