Our Community: First responders take on youngsters

Oak Bay firefighters, paramedics and police officers will strap on skates and pick up hockey sticks to take on local youngsters.

The Second Annual Cops for Cancer McLean Hockey Game on Thursday, Sept. 27, will see this team take on young hockey players drawn from Oak Bay High School.

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“You never know what’s going to happen when you put age and experience out on the ice against the wheels and the talent of the young,” said police Sgt. Mike Martin.

Martin said this year’s first responders have been adding some ringers from Oak Bay Parks and Recreation.

It’s only fair. Their younger opponents, who play for a variety of local teams, have a former NHLer, Patrick Holland, who played with the Montreal Canadiens in the 2013-14 season.

The Cops for Cancer McLean Hockey Game raises money for cancer research. It’s named for Oak Bay Sgt. Dan McLean, who served 21 years and was well known for his community sports involvement. McLean died of cancer in 2013, after his retirement.

The Cops for Cancer McLean Hockey Game is on Thursday, Sept. 27, at 1:30 p.m. at the Oak Bay Recreation Centre. Local singer Stephanie Greaves will sing O Canada. Entry is by donation, and raffle tickets for a variety of prizes will be sold for $2.

Pull a weed and make a new friend

There are new friends and communities to be made pulling Scotch broom, blackberry bushes and other invasive species, says an environmental worker.

“Invasive plants are bringing people together,” said Amanda Evans, program manager for the Greater Victoria Green Team. “They are building communities because it’s nice to meet people while you are doing an activity that helps the local environment.”

This Saturday, the Greater Victoria Green Team is inviting all comers to Murray’s Pond Park, behind Royal Bay Secondary School, to pull invasive plants that are crowding natural foliage.

Volunteers are asked to dress appropriately, with proper boots or footwear, for example. But tools, gloves, shovels and a few extra rain jackets and knee pads will be available. No training is required, but those 18 and under require parents’ permission.

The Greater Victoria Green Team is in its fourth year. With 1,500 volunteers on its books, it counts itself as the largest organization of its kind in the capital region. It works with local governments, enhancement societies, stewardship groups and environmental friendship societies.

“Our whole focus is getting out people, who have never done this sort of thing before,” said Evans. “They get out, they get their hands dirty, they meet new people and they can do something tangible to benefit the local environment.”

The Murray’s Pond Park event has been sanctioned by the City of Colwood and is on Saturday from 9:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. People should meet behind Royal Bay Secondary School, 3500 Ryder Hesjedal Way.

Defend Uplands Park from ivy

In another attack on invasive species, the Friends of Uplands Park have initiated their own weekly assault.

The big villain in Uplands Park is English ivy, now threatening to carpet the park, which is a remaining segment of the widely endangered Garry oak habitat found from south coastal B.C. to northern California.

The Uplands weekly plant pull will run Sundays through Nov. 25 from 1 to 3 p.m. Volunteers should meet at Cattle Point by the second boat ramp after the kiosks. Tools, gloves and instruction provided.

Kidney Walk begins next Sunday

Thousands of British Columbians from 15 communities, including Victoria, will strap on their hiking shoes next Sunday to take part in the annual Kidney Walk.

Alone or in teams, bearing fun names such as the Renal Renegades and the Bladder Braves, participants will walk to raise money for the Kidney Foundation of Canada, B.C. and Yukon Branch.

The foundation says kidney disease is an under-recognized ailment. One in 10 Canadians have it, but most won’t recognize it until the disease is in its end stages and a transplant is required.

But transplants are not easily procured. Almost 50 per cent of those with kidney disease die before one can be performed.

The Kidney Walk is on Sunday, Sept. 23. To learn more, including how to register go online to kidneywalk.ca.

Singing can help those with Alzheimer’s 

Those recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or those who care for them are invited to a lecture featuring two University of Victoria experts discussing the benefits of music.

UVic psychologist Stuart MacDonald and sociologist Andre Smith will provide an overview of Voices in Motion, a Victoria choir for all ages and abilities, including those with dementia.

The choir has been exploring how music and song can trigger memories in some people with dementia, enabling them to sing. Taking part in music and choral song is also believed to offer relief from the depression and social isolation that can accompany dementia.

MacDonald and Smith will also offer an overview of dementia and the need to seek and pursue novel therapies.

The talk will be Friday, Sept. 21, 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Gordon Head Recreation Centre, 4100 Lambrick Park Way.

The University of Victoria, Island Health and the Alzheimer Society of B.C. are sponsoring the event.

Shoreline cleanup tackles the mid-Island

Fisheries and Oceans Canada, oyster farmers and the World Wildlife Fund have teamed up this year bring the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup to Vancouver Island.

Fisheries officers, members of the WWF, the Association for Denman Island Marine Stewards and the B.C. Shellfish Growers’ Association will concentrate on Baynes Sound and Lambert Channel on the east coast of Vancouver Island.

Volunteers from the public are always welcome. 

Besides shellfish, Baynes Sound and Lambert Channel are important spawning and rearing grounds for Pacific herring and benefit local communities through tourism, fishing and other industries.

Debris collected will be handed over to the non-profit Ocean Legacy Foundation, which recycles the plastics.

The first beach cleanup was on Friday, at Fanny Bay and the second at Gartley Point near Royston on Saturday.

Upcoming cleanups will be:

• Wednesday, Sept. 19, Union Bay. Meet at noon in the parking lot beside the Union Bay boat launch.

• Friday, Sept. 21, Buckley Bay. Meet at 12:30 p.m. in the lot next to the Buckley Bay Ferry terminal.

• Saturday, Sept. 22, Deep Bay. Meet at 9:30 a.m. at the parking lot in the small-craft harbour at Deep Bay.

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