The Garry oak meadow on the grounds of Quadra Elementary School is being helped along with a restoration effort involving students, teachers, parents and supporters from the community.
A total of 313 camas bulbs was tucked into the earth during planting at the meadow last week — one for each student at the school. The school’s parent advisory council purchased the bulbs with a donation from Shellie Gudgeon of Il Terrazzo restaurant.
Purple camas flowers will be in full bloom this spring.
Also added to the meadow were native flowering shrubs donated by the Habitat Acquisition Trust. The shrubs will help attract birds, butterflies and bees.
Tracy Byrne, parent advisory council president, said discussions about current activity at the meadow began last May and June. There is also a longer-term concept in the works for more “greening” of other parts of the grounds, she said.
“It’s really to look at how we can increase the natural greenspace on the grounds as a whole,” Byrne said.
“So we’re talking with the city about that, and what we hope to do after the planting is complete is put together a small parent-led committee that would continue to work with Habitat Acquisition Trust and put together a more ambitious vision for generally beautifying the schoolgrounds.”
Preparations for the last week’s planting included having Todd Carnahan of Habitat Acquisition Trust come to classrooms to teach students about Garry oak meadows and how to care for them.
Byrne said the overall schoolground improvement could bring upgraded play areas, including an all-weather sport court that could be used by the community outside of school hours. Community gardens are another possibility.
Bringing the larger vision for the grounds together would require a significant amount of fundraising, Byrne said. She said the work done so far has enjoyed widespread support within Quadra’s “proudly diverse” school community.
The hope is that occasional problems with graffiti will disappear as the grounds become more widely used, Byrne said.
“We want to open the grounds up and encourage the neighbourhood to really see this as something that belongs to them, as well as to the kids,” she said. “The research shows that the more presence — the more people you have at a school and using a school — the less likely you are to be the subject of vandalism.”
On top of all that, the students are getting the chance to have more connection with nature, and have been an integral part of the changes being made, Byrne said.
Retired doctor gets anti-tobacco award
Dr. Peter Coy of Victoria is among 10 individuals and organizations to be named winners of a 2013 Champion for Tobacco Free Living Award.
The awards were launched this year by the B.C. Lung Association and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of B.C and Yukon. They were given out for the first time during National Non-Smoking Week, which wrapped up Saturday.
Coy is a retired oncologist who has been a longtime proponent of controlling tobacco use. He is a former chairman of the Capital Regional District’s Tobacco Free Task Force, and was an important part of the successful push for a regional on ban smoking in restaurants, bars and other sites.
Nominations for the awards came from members of the public and health-care professionals throughout B.C.
Camosun cooks for 450 at Our Place
Students from the Camosun College hospitality-management program took what they’ve been learning to Our Place and served up a gourmet meal to about 450 people.
Our Place is a social agency that works with people who are homeless or in need.
This is the third year that students from the Camosun program have put on a meal, said Our Place executive director Don Evans. The menu included pork tenderloin and came with table service and other touches to make it special, he said.
“The people we serve here were thrilled. They just thought it was amazing.”
Registration open for 24 Hour Relay
It’s not too early to start thinking about June.
June is the month for the annual Money Mart Easter Seals 24 Hour Relay for Kids, a festive fundraising event that sends children with disabilities to a specialized summer-camping program at Easter Seals Camp Shawnigan.
The relay, which is being held for the 19th time, is organized by the B.C. Lions Society. It will bring together dozens of teams June 22-23 at the University of Victoria’s Centennial Stadium to culminate months of fundraising efforts.
Registration details are available at 24hourrelay.com.
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