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December 17, 2008
Snow Days

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The Nature Park, like much of BC, if not the whole of Canada, is covered in snow. There is plenty of bird activity and the trails are criss-crossed here and there with animal tracks. We found a squirrel stuffed into a chickadee nesting box, fluffy tail evident at the entrance hole. How it managed to fit itself in there, I don't know. After the first day of snow, I was able to follow some coyote tracks down to the Shell Road trail, but today I saw just a few paw prints. 

 

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December 10, 2008
Salal and Labrador Tea

At this is the time of year, when the contrast between evergreens and deciduous plants is the most pronounced, the salal and Labrador tea really stand out.

Neither plant loses its leaves during the autumn and winter, both are adapted to living in the harsh environment of the bog. Salal leaves are tough with a leathery cuticle that helps retain moisture, whilst the fuzzy underside of the Labrador Tea traps water vapour. The new, pink growing tips of the Labrador Tea can already be seen, but are tightly closed until the spring, so that they will survive whatever winter brings.

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The salal provides not only berries, but vital ground cover for small mammals and ground-loving birds.

Higher up, the evergreen pines and hemlocks allow owls and other raptors to roost, whilst on the forest floor, the leaves from the deciduous trees furnish the smallest creatures with food and shelter, and they turn that food into soil. 


December 2, 2008
Countdown

Nature is now counting down to the winter solstice on the 21st December, when the nights start slowly drawing out again. Most of the deciduous trees have now dropped their leaves, the scar that shows where each leaf dropped, already carrying the potential for next year's bud.

This is the time of year when we realise how important the mixture of both deciduous and evergreen trees is. The leaf litter provides shelter and food for bugs and insects, and in their turn, they will turn some of it into new soil. But the cover afforded by the evergreens gives shelter to larger birds such as owls and other raptors - mainly hawks. Low to the ground, the salal, itself an evergreen,  becomes shelter for some smaller birds and mammals.

The pond has all but gone to sleep, the turtles nestled in the mud at the bottom, breathing through special cells in the base of their tail. Frogs and tadpoles need water to breathe, so they are in the layer of water just above the mud. There are bugs at all levels, some lay their eggs which survive in the mud until springtime, the larva of others still needs to feed in the middle layer and others still, like the water boatman, remains active throughout the winter and can be seen rowing away beneath the ice layer on colder days. 




Archives
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February 7,2012

I visited the park today with my wife and 3 young kids. We're very impressed and will be returning. I've featured the park on my blog - www.chrisronald.com Thanks, Chris
Chris Young
October 31,2010
Vancouver

Hi You had a busy summer, I see! Very interesting to read about the parklife. You did hard work...! Through the volonteering in the Richmond Nature Park my eyes are opened wide in my country too.... Please say hallo to all we know. Yours Lea
Lea Hafner
September 26,2008
Switzerland

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