Botanical Amble

The rain held off long enough for us to enjoy a fascinating native plant walk around campus. We discovered that many native plants can be found in our own backyard as we shared our morning learning about taxonomy, ecology and the traditional uses of a number of local species.


Campus walks explore campus and discover how much history & biological diversity there is in our own back yard. In this image the group leaning to identify native plants surrounding a kopjafa (or post) carved by Sopron alumnus Les Józsa from an 800-year-old Western Red Cedar that was felled by the December 2007 storm in Stanley Park. The post is located near the Sapron Memorial next to Forestry Sciences – learn more about the post and the significance of the Sopron story.  

David Cook was our leader, as a biologist and coordinator of the Botany Section of Nature Vancouver for the last 9 years, he had a wealth of information to share with the group. David is interested in plant ecology and protection of local natural areas; in particular the old-growth forests, wetlands and intertidal areas of the Vancouver area; the areas most impacted by human exploitation and development. He considers education of the general public about our natural ecosystems is of prime importance if we are to conserve and maintain these wild places for future generations.


Young people looking at a Douglas Fir cone.

In addition to introducing us to living examples, David brought a range of images and samples so we could get hands-on with a number of plants during our walk. He even shared an important botanizing tool  – the hand lens – with us so we could appreciate some of the finer details of our native plants. Walking around campus, looking at everything from native tree silhouettes to magnified leaf detail, made us realize just how many beautiful and ecologically important plants we have in our own backyard.


Oregon Grape – another native plant we saw on the walk. Photo from Creative Commons user Brewbooks.

We have more experts joining us –Shona Ellis will be taking us on a walk through the remains of the old UBC Arboretum this Saturday, November 15th. Ask an Expert about Fossils on Sunday December 7th.

Photo credit: [thumbnail] David Cook