Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bin Day!

Where do you go to flex some muscle in the city?  Try an urban bog: the wilderness in the heart of the city  12 students from Prince of Wales Secondary came out to join the crazy boggers for an energetic "Bin Day"
blackberry, salal, and ouch, holly branches were removed!
before (clean and eager to work)

After (triumphant, tired and muddy).  Some PW students are in the bin throwing salal bits at each other.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sig Techy, 1924 - 2011

Sig Techy, 2007

I am saddened to report that Sig passed away on October 15 at the age of 87.

He was a good friend of the bog. As one of the original “Crazy Boggers” he helped develop our test bog in 1997  He was responsible for the first area to be fully restored, the area we now call Sig's Site. He put in many hours of work on the bog right up till 2007 when ill health forced him to stop. He continued to visit the bog when he could and I know he found peace and solace in it
test bog, 1997

Sig was a friendly and outgoing person and really enjoyed talking to visitors to the bog. He loved nature and one of his passions was planting trees. He planted many conifers throughout Pacific Spirit Park, often without official permission! He was a director of the Pacific Spirit Park Society and was renowned for giving away trees to everybody attending Night Quest. He enjoyed working with young people and this was one of his particular pleasures in the bog. He was heavily involved with the Evans Lake Forestry Camp at Squamish which combined his love of trees and of young people.

His last few years were difficult as he developed Altzheimers Disease. His devoted wife, Pearl, continued to look after him at home. However she passed away this year and last month his sister Margaret also passed away.

We have a lot to thank Sig for. Without his untiring work our restoration would be at an earlier stage today

Farewell old friend – we will miss you

Friday, October 21, 2011

Teachers in Camosun bog

Despite unrelenting rain, 26 educators gathered for our second annual October Pro-D.  Our bog hats off to these teachers and youth leaders who were undeterred by damp weather.  We were out for 4 hours after which, Issaku brought hot tea and treats for everyone to warm up with!  This Pro-D was a potluck collaboration of CBRG, Metro Vancouver Regional Park Interpreters,  VSB teachers and The Co-Design Group.  We thank all the participants for coming!
Jennifer Swanton, a Metro Vancouver Regional Park Interpreter shared activities such as "bog in a bowl".  Jennifer gave out a useful package of outdoor resources, which she demonstrated, This resource is published by Metro Vancouver.  
Jennifer also showed examples of animals in the bog, such as this owl skull

and owl wing
Susan, CBRG, and VSB teacher,  enabled participants to learn 10 bog species in just 10 minutes, using silly memory tricks, one participant is being a little teapot and holding labrador tea.  A list of common bog species here.

Laurence Brown , CBRG and Pat Wilson, retired VSB elementary teacher and CBRG,  showed bog artifacts such as the hockey puck and jughead hat.  Later, Pat shared lesson strategies from her many years of taking young children into the bog.

Stanley King, Co-Design Group,  led a City on the Wall activity to demonstrate the effect of urbanization on a pristine wilderness setting

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Come out to help on Bin Day on October 22, 9AM

Come one, come all, bring your own gloves and haul the big pile of invasives into the rented bin.  The more the merrier and the faster it'll go!  Twice a year, CBRG rents a bin and remove a pile of tree stumps, blackberry bushes (ouch!), huckleberries, salal that builds up over months of restoration work.  An uber-work party followed by snacks and tea.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The mushroom season is upon us!

I stepped into the bog today, since I haven't been there in a while and since I'm unable to come to any work parties this month. I'd like to share some mushrooms I saw. Both of these mushrooms are have beneficial symbiotic relationships with the roots of coniferous trees:

Lactarius rufus

These were under the lodgepole pines in the western part of the bog near the 21st ave entrance. The genus Lactarius is characterized by a trait of exuding 'milk' when they get cut. That's right, they lactate! The milk is white in this species, but it can be red or clear in other species. The specific epithet 'rufus' refers to the red colour of the mushroom.

Russula fragilis

This one was on the far side of the bog, but I saw some old one's in amongst the Lactarius too. Russulas are known to have white gills (almost all have white stems) and they are known to be fragile and shatter easily.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Two solitary bees, labrador tea, and jumping on a bog

We thinned the labrador tea bushes this Thanksgiving weekend, as they were getting very thick.  Planted sphagnum in flattened areas.  As we worked we heard tree frogs singing.  Crisp fall air.
we found two solitary bees  buzzing under the sphagnum and digging in the peat.  Here's the first one.  We need an ID
Second bee, looks to be the same species, dorsal side
Second bee, ventral side
Peat had to be flattened by jumping on plywood prior to planting sphagnum moss (below)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Stanley Park Bog Field Trip

There is a secret bog hidden in Stanley Park, with no public access.   The bog is very fragile and it's being restored by the Stanley Park Young Naturalist Club.    CBRG was invited to a work party there. Our host was Brian, a conservation technician from the Stanley Park Ecology Society.   The bog was composed of labrador tea, sphagnum moss and, after a little clearing, a gorgeous patch of sundew.  The Hemlock forest around this bog was growing on peat because the ground was very springy!  Laurence gave advice on water levels and we removed salal and skunk cabbage amongst labrador tea.  Issaku brought cookies and blueberry tea because the crazy boggers have to have their tea break!
Sundews hidden under the salal

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sept 17, CBRG will send a small team to Stanley Park bog

"Several of us have been invited to to assist in the restoration of the  bog in Stanley Park on Saturday. They are just starting restoration and are wanting to take advantage of our expertise. There will be no work party in Camosun Bog this Saturday (September 17) and we will restart work there on the 24th."

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Lily pad rhizomes

Lily pads were removed from Devil's Hole (the pond) and added to the new pond created at the  19th  avenue entrance.  Note the huge rhizome!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sphagnum: "just add water"

The dried out sphagnum comes back to life when it is hydrated.  Can you see the colour difference?

before wetting

after pouring water on the area:  note the colour change.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Camosun Bog Nature Walk is complete!

Rebuilding of the boardwalk was completed last week and as you can see from the photos, it looks great and the workmanship is first rate
Boardwalk with Dog Fence

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Mosquitoes beware, Pacific Tree Frogs are here!

We have tree frogs in the bog! The latin species name is Hyla regilla. This year we have had a bumper crop of tadpoles in the pond. On Thursday, I was told the frogs had started climbing out of the pond, so I went there to see. I found all the different life stages, except for complete tadpoles and tail-less frogs. The frogs are only about as big as your thumbnail, from head to toe.

Tadpole with hind legs
Tadpole with the head of a frog, and hind legs

Monday, June 27, 2011

Rare Bird Found in Camosun Bog

There is a rush of birders to the bog to see a rare chestnut-sided warbler. This is a common species in eastern North America but is very seldom seen west of Saskatchewan. It was observed by Christine Atkins on June 25 and is still around (June 27). It is singing from the tops of pine trees near the 19th Ave entrance and is very hard to see.
This warbler was last seen in the Lower Mainland in June 2004 and interestingly it was also found in Camosun Bog. This really is a great place to find birds

this photo was taken at Camosun Bog  by a photographer identifying himself as West Coast Birder, observed and photographed on July 1, 2011, published here in caption updated by Susan

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bog Buddy pics

Prince of Wales Secondary partnered with Charles Dickens Annex, Queen Elizabeth Elementary and Carnarvon Elementary.  The Bog buddy program started when our very own Laura Super was in grade 11 and proposed bringing her biology class to Camosun bog for a field trip.  Laura is now in grad school, Botany, in Hawaii.

I will update with a scan of a sample of the marvelous stories created by the biology 11 classes.  some of these stories were borrowed by the community for bog interpretation.  Last year, Metro Vancouver Parks used "The King and His Bog", 2010).  This year, "Spanky the Sphagnum Moss", 2011  was selected to be used by the Beaty Museum during Wetlands month.

Congratulations biology classes for a job well done and many thanks to our elementary school partners.  Teacher Ms. Cultum arranged for her class to respond to the activity with poems.  Photos are courtesy of Marian De Gier Design. Marian was there as a volunteer photographer.

How deep is the bog?  

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Salamanders, tadpoles, and a little shrew

The attached picture is the cluster of eggs Heather found while pulling Juncus out of the bog on Sat. morning. They are not frogs eggs so we surmise they may be salamanders. If you look closely you can see the external gills.  There are also "tons" of tadpoles in the pond! All that croaking in early spring by the adults has produced a bumper crop. Frogs may be disappearing in other locations around the world but lets hope our Tree Frogs have found a permanent home in the bog.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Ode to the bog

I miss everyone. Sending my love from abroad to all the crazy boggers and the bog.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Where does all the water go?

Excess water from the bog now flows into a drain at King Edward and Crown St and disappears. Originally this water went into Khahtsulek (Head of the Lake) Creek and flowed through Chaldecott Park and down to the Fraser. Coho salmon used to swim right up to the very edge of the bog. Thanks to Terry Slack, this has just been recognized in the new sidewalk at King Edward with stampings in the concrete of fish and the name of the creek. As Terry says, it was exactly 100 years ago that the last salmon spawned adjacent to Camosun Bog. See

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sphagnum Nurseries

Ever wonder where Laurence gets those plugs of sphagnum moss  for the restoration process? it's impossible to buy them in any garden store.  All the sphagnum in the restored bog comes from the nearby forest, but the forest is on former bog.

When the city installed drains, the water table was lowered and the bog was almost swallowed up by hemlock forest.

Some Interesting Artefacts from the Bog

During the restoration of Camosun Bog, we often find unusual items buried beneath the surface of the peat. Often these are garbage from another era but often they tell us a lot about conditions in the bog in years gone by

 This shows an old hockey puck. We have found many of these over the years.  The pond used to be a lot larger than it is now and winters were colder. Every year, local kids played ice hockey in the bog and inevitably lost their pucks through the ice

 We have found large numbers of glass marbles in all areas of the bog. Some of these are quite beautiful. We believe these were used as ammunition for sling shots as kids tried to hit ducks and other creatures in the bog. Conservation ethics were quite different in those days - hopefully they were not successful in hitting anything.

This shows a “button hat” - a craze in the 50’s that dates back to the old Archie comic strips where Jughead was depicted wearing a hat of this type. In those days kids would swap buttons with their friends – the one with the most interesting buttons had the highest prestige. It looks like this hat was not particularly good as it had only one type of button.

 We have found many coins in the bog. The oldest is an 1870 silver coin from Spain. Silver coins are not much tarnished. However copper coins are badly etched in the acid conditions of the bog (pH around 4.5). It is often very hard to see the original inscription on them.

Few people today write with a nib and ink. This was the standard way years ago,and this picture shows an ink bottle containing a reservoir that can be filled with ink 

Of course we also find a lot of real garbage. Years ago the bog was used as an unofficial garbage dump. There were major efforts in the 1980’s to clear up this mess but we still find a lot. The most unpleasant are broken bottles and we always have to be careful when we work to avoid hurting ourselves. Nevertheless it is interesting to find things in the bog as there is always the lure of finding something really unusual. We have never found any mummified human remains such as have been found in European bogs.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A New Camosun Bog Display

Zavi (age 9) has been busy publicizing Camosun Bog. He had a display at a science fair at Queen Mary School and this was so well received that he was asked to show it at a city-wide fair at Science World.  This went very well and he was continuously busy answering questions and showing off his meat-eating sundews. As you can see the display looks very attractive. Congratulations Zavi!