Group 16 – Society Promoting Environmental Conservation (SPEC) – YWCA Rooftop Food Garden Nutritional Assessment
Group 17 – Environmental Youth Alliance – Planning for Pollinators
The purpose of this project is simple: to compile experience, opinions, and insights of urban farmers on the use of native pollinators (more specifically with bees). The long term goal is much more complex and involves the EYA using the previous information for planning bee-friendly urban gardens throughout Vancouver with connecting corridors to increase the native bee populations. This is all very appealing in concept and the group members are enthusiastic for what this could do for Vancouver’s flourishing agriculture. There is, however, some disappointment that collecting data is all that they are doing – no analyzing, no implementation, no involvement other than discussions with farmers. The excitement was ramped up a bit with the volunteering where group members got the chance to participate in planting apple trees, something that can be enjoyed by the community for many years to come. One group member mentions that it was a great opportunity to meet people with similar interests and views. Unfortunately the excitement plummeted down again during the weeding session. We all agree that weeding is important, but when it comes down to it weeding is weeding, especially when it’s in the rain.
Van Parks Board for the Bees
Some exciting last-minute progress is happening for group 17 as answers from the Vancouver Parks Board are finally coming in! There is some keen interest from one of the commissioners for setting up a native bee friendly space in Queen Elizabeth Park as part of their Greenest City initiative. The proposed bee space will act as one of the several pollinator hotspots across west and east Vancouver to increase the viability of urban agriculture. This is not the first time the VPB has partnered with the Environmental Youth Alliance – a few years ago they together established a native bee promoting site at Fraserview Golf Course. While group 17 will not get the chance to directly be involved with the Queen Elizabeth Park site, they are definitely excited to have had the chance to get the idea started.
Group 18 – Gambier Island Sea Ranch – Pig Management Project
This team is of the lucky few chosen to travel to beautiful Gambier Island for their project. They worked with the Gambier Island Sea Ranch to look into the recent health problems of their pigs – over the past 2 years all the pigs have had to be euthanized due to an unknown disease. Speculations were made (possible ring worm infections?) as a tight budget prevented the farm from hiring a veterinarian and suggestions were given (move the pigs to a different field) along with various other advice for their Gambier Island community partner. Due to the nature of their project, group 18 was left with not much else to do so they were given the task of building nesting boxes for the ranch’s chickens. They were a bit frustrated with this because it didn’t involve their specific project, however it served as a great experience for them as none of the group members had any woodworking experience and reassured them of the strength of their team’s character because the boxes actually turned out quite nicely.
Group 18 has a positive outlook on the future of Gambier Island Sea Ranch’s pig rearing because of the foundation they have set and advice given for having happy, healthy pigs. Hopefully the next round of LFS students to undertake this project will find this group’s efforts useful for improving the ranch in the years to come.
Group 19 – Gambier Island Sea Ranch – Poultry Management Project
Group 20 – Gambier Island Sea Ranch – Pasture Management Project
This group’s goal was to determine a sustainable pasture management plan for the Gambier Island Sea Ranch. In order to evaluate the pasture management, they travelled to Gambier Island. Their journey was one filled with travel and beauty.
They got up early on a Saturday morning to catch a chartered ferry to meet their community partner. When they made it to the island they were struck by its beauty. Their community partner came out to greet them with a herd of dogs, they were all very friendly. They were warmly welcomed into their community partner’s home and treated to tea and muffins. The group got to see salmon running up stream, seals eating the salmon in the bay, and an eagle soaring above. It was nothing short of a whimsical day.
The group took soil samples, built chicken nesting boxes and flaps and had the opportunity to be exposed to a wide variety of kind, accomplished, individuals with diverse careers. By getting out there and interacting with their community partner they were able to get the necessary background information needed to do literary research. This information was focused on how to improve the soil quality in order to enhance the forage grown for the animals to feed on. Their feedback will enable their community partner to increase the efficiency and sustainability of their ranch.