Spring is a great time to identify the different plants on your property. While some plants such as trees and shrubs can be observed and identified any time of year, many herbaceous plants are annuals or go dormant during the dry summer and cold winter. For this reason, we encourage landholders interested in learning more about the land to contact us during the springtime to arrange consultations. More than 130 landholders have participated in this popular program to date. Since most of Mayne Island is held in private ownership, the actions of private land stewards will determine the future of life on Mayne.
Spring is an important and exciting time for local plants and animals. The short period of time from late March until June when there is warmth, water, and sunshine is the most productive time of year for most habitats on Mayne Island. Some habitats such as wetlands enjoy peak productivity slightly later, but plants growing in most places on Mayne have their growth in the warmest time of year limited by water availability. Plants are the primary energy source for the food chain and it all starts with them. The energy captured each year in spring moves like a wave through the ecosystem, with different types of organisms getting their metaphorical hands on the energy later in spring, summer, or fall. Not only do plants provide the energy that powers other organisms, but they also provide shelter. Because of the important role plants play, they are usually the focus of efforts to protect or improve habitat for all organisms within the ecosystem.
What will I learn?
While each consultation is different depending on the property and situation, there is some information that is consistently provided. In advance of the consultation, you will be provided three maps of your property and surrounding area. The first map will show the known disturbance history, for example when different areas were last logged, and if they were clearcut or selectively logged. During the visit we can confirm logging history data using an increment borer, which allows the age of a tree to be determined from an extracted core sample. Coring causes minimal harm to the tree and can be a fun part of the consultation for any younger land stewards. The second map will show the different ecosystem types on your property and surrounding area, helping you understand how the habitats on your land connect with the broader landscape. The third map shows the soils as identified by Agriculture Canada during their survey of the island in 1982/83.
During the consultation you will be provided information verbally about the plants and animals that we find, but don’t worry, there is no need to write down all the plant names. Following the consultation, you will be sent a digital list of all the plants we observe, with links to pictures and more information, as well as a summary of any recommendations and other references discussed during the walk. Following the consultation, we can offer assistance with habitat restoration, such as helping you source native plants, loaning tools, and offering more detailed advice for larger projects. For those interested in learning more about conservation covenants, we can set up a meeting with our covenant expert, Michael Dunn.
Landowner vs Landholder
You may have noticed we use the term landholder instead of landowner. For us, the term landholder signifies more accurately the transient nature of our time on the lands we inhabit, and reminds us that others have come before us, and others will come after us. How we treat the land in our short time can have a big impact on the future. It is up to each of us to decide what legacy we want to leave for future generations.
Schedule a Consultation
We feel inspired by all the landholders on Mayne Island who are interested in learning more about land stewardship through this fun, informal, and confidential program. To schedule a consultation for your property, please send the Conservancy biologist, Rob Underhill, an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.