Home Sections Environment & Sustainability Earth Day 2023: Proposed Garry Oak meadow recognized by Colwood environmental group

Earth Day 2023: Proposed Garry Oak meadow recognized by Colwood environmental group

New Garry Oak Meadow proposed by student award winner.

oak tree, cenic, colwood, student
Grade 12 student Colin Sparks initiated the concept for a Garry Oak Meadow next to Royal Bay Secondary School. On Earth Day he planted the first oak, April 22, 2023. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

Sunday April 23, 2023 | COLWOOD, BC [Updated 12:30 pm]

by Mary P Brooke, B.Sc. | Island Social Trends

A small oak sapling has become part of the vast open landscape in a park area next to Royal Bay Secondary School in Colwood.

The standalone oak — presently adorned with a rock to commemorate its planting on Earth Day 2023 — is intended to kickstart a full Garry Oak Meadow where there is none of that yet.

Winning an award yesterday from CENiC (Citizens Environmental Network in Colwood) for coming up with the Garry Oak Meadow idea was Grade 12 student Colin Sparks.

colin sparks, doug kobayashi, mayor little
CENIC award winner Colin Sparks with Colwood Mayor Doug Kobayashi and Metchosin Mayor Marie-Térèse Little, April 22, 2023 in Colwood. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

CENIC’s work:

CENIC uses Earth Day each year to promote the environmental good works of individuals, businesses and organizations in the west shore municipality of Colwood and apparently now the broader region.

The year’s Environment Stewardship Award Ceremony was held in the park to the east of Royal Bay Secondary School, near Murray’s Pond.

In his brief remarks yesterday, Colwood Mayor Doug Kobayashi gave a glowing commendation to the CENiC group for the level and reach of their commitment in the area of environmental preservation.

cenic, event, park, colwood
CENIC gathering on Earth Day, April 222, 2023. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

This year’s three CENIC award winners:

Each receiving a framed certificate, a plant and applause were the three CENiC winners for 2023:

cenic, award winners, earth day, 2023
Three CENIC award winners on Earth Day 2023 (from left): Sooke School District SD62 Acting Chair Amanda Dowhy; Royal Bay Bakery owner Brad Kiss; and Gr 12 Student Colin Sparks. In photo on April 22, 2023 with (from left): Colwood Mayor Doug Kobayashi, Colwood Councillors Misty Olsen, Kim Jordison & David Grove; and CENIC President Carol Brown. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]
  • Colin Sparks – Grade 12 Student – for initiating a Garry Oak Meadow concept on the field behind Royal Bay Secondary School in Colwood.
  • Royal Bay Bakery (owner Brad Kiss) for maintaining environmentally sustainable business practices.
  • Sooke School District 62 (SD62) – for being the first school district in BC to bring electric school buses into their transportation fleet. [That news goes back to 2021)
  • ARCHIVE: Click here to see 2022 winners

Local community support:

About 60 people from the Colwood community attended the outdoor Earth Day event where the CENiC awards were presented, including one dog which seemed to bark with approval at one appropriate moment.

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In the crowd were Colwood Mayor Doug Kobayashi and his wife Mindy Kobayashi; Colwood councillors David Grove, Kim Jordison, and Misty Olsen; SD62 trustees (Acting Chair Amanda Dowhy, Trustee Cendra Beaton, and trustee Ravi Parmar who still sits on the board while he runs for the NDP’s MLA seat in Langford-Juan de Fuca); former Colwood councillor Judith Cullington; last year’s 2022 CENiC winners Roger and Abby St Pierre; Metchosin Mayor Marie-Térèse Little; and several Colwood community regulars.

carol brown, misty olsen, kim jordison
Mingling at the 2023 CENiC awards in Colwood, April 22, 2023 (from left): CENiC President Carol Brown, and City of Colwood Councillors Misty Olsen & Kim Jordison. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

Colwood is quite impressed with young Colin Sparks and has invited him to sit on their municipal transportation committee.

School district taking this forward:

Sparks is finishing up his Grade 12 year at Royal Bay Secondary School (SD62) but will leave the school with the future opportunity for creating and developing a Garry Oak meadow.

Garry Oak meadow location & project viability:

The location presently designated for that meadow is on open sloped grassy land next to the sports track behind Royal Bay Secondary School, beyond which is high-density housing.

sports track, royal bay secondary, field
Sloped land behind Royal Bay Secondary School (next to the sports track) in Colwood is the targeted spot for a proposed Garry Oak Meadow, says local environmental group CENiC. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

There is already a bit of a walking path with some lighting and some small to mid-size trees. Nearby is a lightly forested area beyond the grassy field.

land, colwood, oak meadow, houses
Sloped land behind Royal Bay Secondary School in Colwood is the targeted spot for a proposed Garry Oak Meadow, says local environmental group CENiC. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

Garry Oak meadows are complex ecosystems. Starting one from scratch is an interesting concept and an ambitious project, if in fact it is achievable.

Comments to come from the Garry Oak Meadow Preservation Society (GOMPS), as to the viability of the project.

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===== RELATED:

Langford residents flock to tree-planting on Earth Day (April 22, 2023)

Dogwood tree planted in Colwood park on Earth Day (April 24, 2022)

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mary p brooke
Mary P Brooke, Editor, Island Social Trends

Island Social Trends is a long-standing publication in the west shore of South Vancouver Island (fourth in a series that began with print publications MapleLine Magazine 2008-2010, Sooke Voice News 2011-2013, and West Shore Voice News 2014-2020, which then emerged as Island Social Trends fully online in mid-2020).

Based in Langford, IslandSocialTrends.ca covers news of the west shore (including Langford, Colwood, Metchosin, Sooke, View Royal, and Juan de Fuca) as well as the Greater Victoria area and south Vancouver Island, with insights on BC and national issues.

Island Social Trends editor is Mary P Brooke, B.Sc., Cert PR. Ms Brooke is a long-time journalist, delivering news through a socioeconomic lens, and now reports with the BC Legislative Press Gallery.

Island Social Trends continues to build the Island Social Trends Food Security Archive with articles about food security on south Vancouver Island and current developments around food sustainability across BC and nationally. Food security will be an issue in any major event like an earthquake or tsunami. Island Social Trends covers Environment and Sustainability news.