Sunday, 24 February 2013

CITO At Fort Rodd Hill

On February 24th Landsharkz hosted a CITO the which I have never seen before.  I have been to many CITO (Cache In Trash Out) Events over the past couple of years, but never one that took place at one of my favorite childhood locations.  This is of course the one and only Fort Rodd Hill!

Fort Rodd Hill is home to some of the oldest and rarest Gary Oak Ecosystems.  While Canada did at one time have many of these ecosystems, expansion and growth of the Human Race has systematically been wiping them out.  Here in Victoria you find them on the rocky hilltops near the shoreline.
To learn a bit more about Gary Oak Ecosystems check out this article from Parks Canada:
Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites of Canada and Garry Oak Ecosystems

These ecosystems are not only at risk from Humans, but also from other invasive plant species.  And one of those invasive plants is the Daphne Laureola.  To learn more on this plant please check out this link also:

This plant is very prolific, and handling it requires special care as it does have some toxic properties.  The sap of this plant can cause rashes and such, and Work Safe BC also has some words on how to handle this plant, since you can also find it growing in your yard: Work Safe BC Info On Handling Daphne Laureola

Landsharkz coordinated with Parks Canada to have us come in and assist them in removing this plant from their Gary Oak forest areas. 
With enthusiasm and an eagerness a number of local cachers converged on the grounds of Fort Rodd Hill and met with the Parks Canada staff for a briefing of what we were up against and what tools we would be using.   
They graciously gave all of us new pairs of work gloves, showed us the cutters we were to use and away we went.

We walked down to near the Lower Battery and were shown our work site.  And I have to say there was a lot of this plant down here.  We set right to work cutting at the root and pulling the saplings.  It was actually a lot of Daphne to clear, but time flew while we all had fun chatting and working.  Soon it was already noon, and Parks Canada supplied us with a nice pizza lunch. 

After lunch we worked away until 3pm, and by that time we had a huge pile of Daphne Laureola.  The staff at Parks Canada were most impressed, and were even more impressed at how we recognized natural indigenous plants and worked around them and left them to thrive and grow.

With that said a big thanks goes to the cachers that showed up to help clear this invasive plant out, a bigger thanks to Landsharkz for planning and hosting the event, and a SUPER HUGE thanks to Parks Canada for allowing us to come into their environment and help them take care of business!
Also a thank you to A-Team for graciously letting me use his pictures from the event in this blog.


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