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WINTER 2012 EDITION

Celebrating Victoria’s commitment to green living

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green W INTER 2 0 1 2 EDITION Group Publisher Penny Sakamoto

director, advertising sales Oliver Sommer

Section editor Jennifer Blyth

Circulation Director Bruce Hogarth

LAYOUT & DESIGN Lily Chan

Cover image Jennifer Blyth

Practice Makes Perfect................................................................. 3

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Real World Studies at Royal Roads............................................. 4

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Little House on the Landfill.......................................................... 7

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ICC Local Food Fest....................................................................... 6 Green Reads................................................................................... 8 Sustainable Solutions from BC Communities . ......................... 9 Newspaper Tales..........................................................................10 Checked Your Pipes Lately?.......................................................11 Sustainability Partnerships at Royal Roads.............................12 Aliens Among Us..........................................................................14 Water Efficiency Saves Money & the Environment..................15 Green Gardens.............................................................................16 Wild Hills & Beaches...................................................................17

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CALL 877 BARTLETT 877.227.8538 OR VISIT BARTLETT.COM 2 • COMMUNITY GREEN SCENE • FEBRUARY 2012

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250-381-3633 ext 236 or email osommer@blackpress.ca


Capital Regional District

Practice Makes Perfect

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very year, residents in our region generate hundreds of tonnes of waste, including many objects that could have been recycled. By practicing the 3Rs of reduce, reuse and recycle we can significantly cut-down the amount of waste entering our landfill. Whether you live in a house or apartment, there is a Capital Regional District (CRD) program to help you reduce your waste and impact on the environment. If you live in a house within the capital region, the CRD Curbside Recycling Program picks up recyclables right at your curb. An unlimited amount of recyclables from your home can be placed at the curb in CRD blue boxes or blue bags. Please ensure you use the permitted containers that are less than 47 liters in volume, otherwise your materials will be left behind. Current curbside recycling schedules are good until April 30, 2012. New schedules will be mailed out in April 2012, so keep an eye out. When preparing your recyclables remember these simple tips:

CRD Blue Bags: • Include clean paper products only • Place materials loosely in the bag • Shred papers containing personal identity information and place within a paper bag, cereal box or other non-corrugated box, and then place in your blue bag

CRD Blue Boxes: • Clean containers and rigid plastic packaging before placing within box • Flatten metal and plastic containers whenever possible • Place materials loosely, no sorting is required • Plastic bags and Styrofoam are not accepted

Cardboard: *Maximum bundle size is 90 cm x 45 cm x 20 cm* • Flatten and bundle pizza boxes and cardboard • Only clean items accepted • Tie bundles with string or twine (no tape or wire) or cut and place within CRD Blue Bag If your recyclables were left behind, check the “tag” left by the driver to find out why. Materials that are contaminated, items not accepted or materials in non-conforming containers will not be collected. For more information on materials accepted or to find

out more about the CRD Curbside Recycling Program please visit Myrecyclopedia. ca – an online resource for residents of the Capital Region to identify how to reduce, reuse and recycle. The CRD introduced an apartment recycling program in 2000 that provides funding to apartment owners and managers to help pay for private collection services for recyclables. Since 2006, 37,000 free reusable recycling tote bags were distributed to apartment and condominium units in the region to help increase recycling participation. Don’t have a reusable recycling tote bag within your unit? Reusable recycling tote bags are available to all apartment and condominium buildings in the region, with five or more units. The bag is intended to remain within each unit, thus ensuring the next occupant has access to the same service. Additional tote bags are available for a nominal fee at the CRD office located at 625 Fisgard Street. When it comes to recycling, don’t forget about the Hartland Landfill recycling facility. This full-service depot, which accepts more than 80 different material types, is intended for residential quantities only and accepts loads up to a maximum Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) of 5,500 kg. The cost for entering the recycling facility is $6 per vehicle and the facility has recently launched several new pilot projects including Styrofoam and film plastics recycling. Please visit www.crd.bc.ca/hartland for more information including rates, hours and accepted materials.

Go blue. It’s the right thing to do. We’re happy to see so many people taking to recycling. It’s the right thing to do. Lifting recyclables in oversized containers has become an occupational health and safety concern for the people who pick them up. That’s why only CRD approved blue boxes and blue bags are emptied at the curb. This way we can all care for the environment, and the people who work every day to make it better. Find CRD Blue Box sales locations at www.crd.bc.ca/bluebox or contact the CRD Hotline at 250.360.3030.

www.crd.bc.ca COMMUNITY GREEN SCENE • FEBRUARY 2012  •  3


Royal Roads University

Students find solutions to real world environmental challenges By Jennifer Blyth

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he world’s environmental challenges will not wait for theoretical discussion, so at Royal Roads University the focus is on practical solutions. And that philosophy is generating success, not only for students and the university, but also for the community. From the financial realities of electric cars and solar energy to dynamic tourism and education plans, students are offering up the facts and solutions, so eco-conscious consumers and organizations can make better informed decisions. Royal Roads students recently earned top prize in Ready, Set, Solve, a CRD Climate Action Program and goBEYOND Campus Climate Network initiative that issued challenges to local post-secondary students from municipalities, non-profit organizations and institutions. Under their challenge from the Town of Sidney, Royal Roads’ Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science students Marnie Lorimer, Giovanna Heron and Steve Barrett created an Excel-based greenhouse gas inventory tool to calculate Sidney’s corporate emissions. “We get to take stuff we learn in school and use it on a real situation in the community,” Lorimer says. “Being part of the solution is the greatest thing I’m going to take away from all of this.” Sidney needs to calculate its greenhouse gas emissions to report to B.C. as part of the province’s climate action plan, but, as a small municipality, doesn’t have a department that manages climate action commitments. Sidney is now using the tool created by the students. “We feel pretty lucky to have had the opportunity to work with such a great group of students,” says Shari Holmes-Saltzman, Sidney municipal planner, who describes Ready, Set, Solve as a “win-win situation.” “It was a great opportunity for the town to team up with a group of students to create a comprehensive measurement and reporting tool, and I think this was also a great project for the students to be able to apply what they’ve been learning in school to a real world problem.” As goBEYOND’s community co-ordinator, 2011 Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science grad Jordan Kummerfield was instrumental in organizing Ready, Set, Solve, just one of several projects he’s tackled for the university. As a student, Kummerfield participated in Solar Colwood, a federally funded clean energy project that aims to bring solar hot water heating technology into 1,000 homes and businesses over three years, among other ini4 • COMMUNITY GREEN SCENE • FEBRUARY 2012

Amy Dove photo/Royal Roads

(From left) Susan Kerr, Jordan Kummerfield and Nancy Wilkin, from Royal Roads’ Office of Sustainability, hold a meeting outside. tiatives. The work stems from a 2009 memorandum of understanding that allows students to work on city projects as the basis of their major research projects. “Without our partnership with Solar Colwood and the City of Colwood, none of these projects would be happening and the students wouldn’t be experiencing such a ground-breaking program with a local government,” says Nancy Wilkin, director of Royal Roads’ Office of Sustainability. Kummerfield’s class project involved reviewing provincial data to determine average energy consumption by Colwood residents and the resulting greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, a second Royal Roads team analyzed the lifecycle of solar thermal technology. This semester, there are three more student projects focusing on Solar Colwood in addition to research on the project being done by faculty. Since graduating, Kummerfield has continued working with Solar Colwood, helping set up a database allowing participating homeowners to see their savings generated by using solar energy. While Kummerfield entered the Royal Roads program expecting it would help him focus his career options, in fact it had the opposite result. “It’s the range of study that impressed me the most. I

thought the program would help me narrow it down, but instead, it opened up so many possibilities,” he says. While those possibilities mean Kummerfield’s plans are still evolving, for the time being he’s enjoying the opportunity to continue his work at the university and with Solar Colwood. Other interesting projects for the university include the current electric vehicles project, jointly sponsored by Royal Roads and the New Car Dealers Association, also a partner in Solar Colwood. The students will produce a consumer-friendly report, bringing together science, research and consumer education so the public can better understand the benefits of electric vehicles. “The value for the community is having this information available to help them make decisions,” Wilkin says. “It is very confusing right now for the consumer with respect to wanting to do the right thing environmentally, but not knowing which is the best environmental choice for a vehicle, and the pay back considerations with respect to costs.” Much needed answers to more real word questions, courtesy of Royal Roads students. Working on environmental challenges isn’t reserved for students of environmental studies. Learners from a


variety of programs – from communication and business to hospitality and tourism – are colouring the campus and communities green. Ryan Staley is one of a group of students from the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management who was in Quebec’s Forillon National Park in January, contracted by Parks Canada to study visitor use and experience. Following on-site field research, the students returned to Victoria to analyze the data and prepare a report of their findings for Parks Canada. “It’s a great way to put all of our learning at RRU into practice,” says Staley, earning his Master of Arts in Tourism Management. “This project is allowing us to utilize this learning to help improve the visitor experience and hopefully increase visitation at Forillon National Park.” Understanding visitor experience will help Parks Canada in its management of the country’s natural spaces. “Tourism is a way to educate people to the importance of the environment,” explains Geoffrey Bird, associate professor in the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management. In her final research paper for Royal Roads’ Master of Arts in Tourism Management, Cathy Thicke explored diversifying and sustaining Tofino’s tourism economy. During its 100-day tourism season, when the town of 1,800 sees an influx of up to one million visitors, services – from transportation and accommodation to water and police – are stretched to the maximum.

“My research led me to consider the possibilities of developing resilience and sustainability in the mono-economy of tourism. From these ideas came the concept of a higher education centre as a means of diversifying the tourism economy in Tofino,” Thicke explains. “With the possibility of a higher learning centre in Clayoquot Sound, using a blended learning approach, such as I experienced at Royal Roads, the Unesco Biosphere Reserve could become alive to research and higher education over the entire year; possibly eliminating the 100-day intense and unsustainable tourism economy that Tofino now experiences. Thanks to Royal Roads for stimulating green research that relates to real-life economic situations in tourism communities in Canada!” Thicke’s concept is gaining momentum, with support from various community members. If her research is implemented, it will be another example of Royal Roads students contributing innovative and viable sustainability solutions that make a difference. “Many of the students who study at Royal Roads are not from Victoria, but there is an underlying community service value that is operating here that may not often be found in regular research projects,” Wilkin says. “This value sets Royal Roads students apart and their real world projects done here lead them to continue to be valued citizens in their own communities when they return home. Our alumni are a reflection of this learning through the work they are doing throughout the world.”

Photo courtesy Royal Roads

SEE

TOURISM IN A WHOLE NEW WAY.

You are ethical, fiscally responsible, and demand sustainable solutions. Your industry should share your values. At Royal Roads University’s School of Tourism and Hospitality Management, you can drive the change. Gain specialized knowledge while enhancing your leadership skills through an MA in Tourism Management, a BA in International Hotel Management, or one of our intensive graduate certificate programs: Destination Development, Sustainable Tourism, Hospitality Management, and Tourism Leadership. Our flexible learning model lets you choose a learning style to fit your schedule. Study online or on-campus. Going back to school doesn’t mean giving up your life. Learn more at www.royalroads.ca or contact our Enrolment Advisors: learn.more@royalroads.ca or 1-877-778-6227.

Royal Roads University students put theory into practice, tackling real world environmental challenges through class projects.

V I C TO R I A B C C A N A DA

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COMMUNITY GREEN SCENE • FEBRUARY 2012  •  5 12-01-12 8:55 AM


Local food fest has chefs ‘Defending our Backyard’ By Jennifer Blyth

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oodies and advocates for the local food industry are eagerly awaiting this year’s Island Chefs Collaborative Food Fest, “Defending our Backyard,� later this spring at the Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site.

The festival returns Sunday, June 10 to the Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site, which will be filled with booths from local growers and producers, chefs, vintners and more. This year’s event will focus on high-end street food using the best local seasonal ingredients, with three to four dozen top local chefs turning simple, affordable local meat and produce into delicious creations, says Jason Found, from the Island Chefs’ Collaborative, which organizes the festival. In addition, this year’s festival will feature more children’s components to reach out to those junior palates, “more hands on deck and more food to satisfy the crowds, along with the best beverages from the Island and great entertainment,� Found says. “It will be a great day!� In addition to being a great opportunity to celebrate the abundance produced by local growers and producers, the event is also a successful community fundraiser. Funds raised have allowed the Chefs’ Collaborative to launch a zero-interest micro loan fund for farmers and processors on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, focussed on increasing local production. For more information, visit www.iccbc.ca

The Island Chefs’ Collaborative’s local food festival highlights all that is available – and delicious – close to home. Jennifer Blyth photo

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Capital Regional District

The Little House on the Landfill Officially Opens its Doors

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hings look a little different at Hartland Landfill since the Hartland Learning Centre officially opened in November, 2011. Known as “The Little House on the Landfill,” the learning centre offers onsite learning for the 3Rs: reduce, reuse and recycle, as well as sustainable practices. “The Little House on the Landfill” takes sustainability to the next level. The building is a recycled residential cottage from Langford. The rooms were transformed into a state-of-the-art classroom for children to learn the importance of waste reduction and proper disposal within the capital region. All the materials used to remodel the house, from windows to insulation, Students participating in the Digging Deeper program at the were reused from recycled materials and all the Hartland Learning Centre. tainability in the region. The Hartland furniture was donated. The Little House even features sun tubes Learning Centre offers the next step in this for lighting, rainwater collection methods process by delivering top notch education in a fun and interactive way. By offering and beautiful native plant gardens. Offering place-based learning, the cen- six interactive workshops and interpretre will capture students’ imaginations and tive tours that support the BC Ministry of increase their understanding of how pre- Education’s learning outcomes for social cious our local environment is. Students studies, personal planning, language arts, in kindergarten to Grade 12 can learn the science and math, there is something for benefits of recycling and waste reduction, every age group at the learning centre. Actively promoting waste reduction and environmental impacts of product packaging, facts about Hartland landfill and recycling education to students and edueven how to calculate their ecological foot- cators for more than two decades, the 3R program is one of many initiatives in place print. “As you step into the Little House on to reduce the amount of waste generated the Landfill,” explains Geoff Young, Capi- and disposed of in the capital region. To book a workshop or tour, please contal Regional District (CRD) Board Chair, “you will be asked; where am I, what is the tact the CRD Hotline at 250-360-3030 or natural and social history of this beauti- 1-800-663-4425 local 3030 or by email at ful place, and how does this place fit into hotline@crd.bc.ca. Presentations continue the larger world? These are all important to be offered at individual schools on the questions to truly understand how little CRD 3R program for those who cannot changes can make big differences to our visit the centre for logistical reasons. Book your school program today and help teach region and world.” The Capital Regional District is com- our future leaders the importance of envimitted to educating and promoting sus- ronmental stewardship.

The Little House on the Landfill is now open! The Capital Regional District’s 3R School Outreach program now offers workshops at Hartland Learning Centre in the Little House on the Landfill. The program motivates and challenges students and teachers to explore new attitudes and habits to reduce waste, reuse items and recycle more! For more information on our 3R school program and the newly opened Hartland Learning Centre visit www.crd.bc.ca/hartlandlearningcentre or contact our CRD Recycling Hotline at hotline@crd.bc.ca or 250.360.3030 to book a workshop.

www.crd.bc.ca COMMUNITY GREEN SCENE • FEBRUARY 2012  •  7


Green Reads

Titles Packed With Inspiration For Your Home & Garden By Jennifer Blyth

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hether in our homes, our cars, our gardens or in the food we eat, choices we make every day affect the environment around us. Some of the latest books on the environmental front tackle just these subjects – and more. From solar retrofits for existing houses to food security at the local level, these hot-off-the-press titles from New Society Publishers and Harbour Publishing will keep you informed and inspired.

Home Sweet Zero Energy Home

The Urban Food Revolution, Changing the Way We Feed Cities by Peter Ladner, New Society Publishers Creating “a recipe for community food security based on leading innovations across North America,” Peter Ladner, a two-term Vancouver City councillor and journalist, explores cities’ efforts to return food production to local communities through neighbourhood gardening, cooking and composting programs, investing in farmers’ markets and community-supported agriculture and other initiatives.

by Barry Rehfeld, New Society Publishers Subtitled “What it takes to develop great homes that won’t cost anything to heat, cool or light up, without going broke or crazy,” Home Sweet Zero Energy Home is a practical, 208-page guidebook that shows “how zero energy homes can be good, livable, affordable homes.” Focusing on real costs and savings, Rehfeld, a journalist for more than 30 years and the founder of zeroenergyintelligence.com, explores: site selection and passive design; insulation, windows, doors and building materials; heating and cooling; appliances and electronics; and more.

Housing Reclaimed, Sustainable Homes for Next to Nothing by Jessica Kellner, New Society Publishers Housing Reclaimed “is a call to arms for nonconventional home builders,” examining how technological advances, design and resourceful thinking about materials and efficiency can help meet the challenge of building affordable, sustainable and beautiful homes.

Coming up: The Permaculture Handbook by Peter Bane, New Society Publishers Scheduled for release this May, The Permaculture Handbook, Garden Farming for Town and Country, is a step-by-step, beautifully illustrated guide to creating resilient and prosperous households and neighbourhoods. Author Peter Bane shows readers how to create an abundance of fresh, nourishing local produce, reduce dependence on expensive, polluting fossil fuels, drought-proof our cities and countryside and convert waste into wealth. 8 • COMMUNITY GREEN SCENE • FEBRUARY 2012

Solar Home Heating Basics, a Green Energy Guide, by Dan Chiras, New Society Publishers Coming up this April from author and educator Dan Chiras, this new Green Energy Guide from New Society Publishers focuses on renewable energy strategies to heat new and existing homes and small businesses. Helping readers navigate the sometimes-confusing maze of options, Chiras explores areas such as energy efficiency, weatherization and insulation, solar hot air heating, solar thermal systems, passive solar heating and backup heating systems. “While most solar home heating resources are geared primarily towards new buildings, this practical and easy-to-understand guide also addresses ways of retrofitting existing buildings,” for greater accessibility.

Sow Simple, 100+ Green and Easy Projects to Make Your Garden Awesome by Christina Symons & John Gillespie, Harbour Publishing Scheduled to be released this coming March, the 208page paperback Sow Simple is a “gorgeous collection of tips, tricks and projects that are sure to increase enjoyment of outdoor spaces, save money and sustain the environment.” Edible Landscaping, Urban Food Gardens That Look Great, by Senga Lindsay, Harbour Publishing Available to gardeners this coming April, author and landscape architect Senga Lindsay’s128-page Edible Landscaping explores one of the most prevalent garden trends in recent years. Learn how simple growing fruits, vegetables, fruits and herbs can be while creating a beautiful green space.


Royal Roads University

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histler has a limit to population growth. Vancouver is aiming to be the greenest city in the world by 2020. And T’sou-ke Nation is B.C.’s most solar-powered community. When it comes to sustainability, we can learn a lot from our neighbours. That’s the premise behind Meeting the Climate Change Challenge (MC3): Community Responses to B.C. Climate Policy, a research project led by Ann Dale, Canada Research Chair in sustainable development at Royal Roads University. “My ultimate goal is to speed the exploitation of knowledge as rapidly as possible between the communities that are leaders with the ones that are smaller and don’t have access to the same resources,” says Dale, who is working on the project with colleagues from University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University. The MC3 team sees B.C. as a “living laboratory,” says Dale, adding that the province is on the leading edge of what is likely to be a major wave of local government innovation to address climate change adaptation and mitigation in Canada. B.C. has introduced innovative policies, such as a carbon tax on fossil fuels and a requirement that all public sector organizations be carbon-neutral, which they have just achieved. Dale and her colleagues see a major opportunity to learn from the varied efforts of communities to undertake climate change adaptation and mitigation. The researchers aim to identify best practices and contribute to a process of social learning among municipalities. Dale is in the midst of identifying and investigating innovative municipal approaches to provincial climate policy and documenting best practices through 11 detailed case studies. Since the project started in July 2011, she has seen a number of themes emerge from the communities. “Most of these places are trying to transition. They’re attempting to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, many through optimizing energy efficiency,” Dale says, linking two top themes: transition and district energy systems. “Some of the leading communities have district energy systems

Ann Dale, Canada Research Chair in sustainable development at Royal Roads University, is exploring what B.C. communities are doing to mitigate climate change.

Dan Anthon photo/Royal Roads

RRU Research Looks to B.C. Communities for Climate Solutions

in place. Revelstoke, for example, has re-oriented their community plan around energy and an expansion of their district energy program.” Another theme is partnership, Dale says, pointing to Dawson Creek’s collaboration with the Pembina Institute on a community energy planning project. Most of the municipalities have forged partnerships with organizations, such as the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Fraser Basin Council, to help them fill gaps in expertise and work towards integration, another important theme. “Integration is what we’re fundamentally talking about here,” Dale says. “For me, sustainable development is at its core a process of reconciliation of the ecological, the social and the economic imperatives. We think we’re very good at integration, but it’s very hard to do when we are so used to solitudes, silos and stovepipes.” North Vancouver is one of the only communities Dale has seen integrate its official community plan with sustainability. Municipalities are required to have an OCP and the federal government says if they want access to their gas-tax rebate, they must put in place an integrated community sustainability plan. “North Vancouver has integrated those two plans,” Dale says. “You know someone’s serious when they take their existing plan and integrate.” After identifying leaders and late adopters, the next step in the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions-funded research project is to share the information as widely as possible. “We’re in these communities and we’re going to find out what’s working and what isn’t working and then we’re going to produce a strategic policy paper saying, ‘Here’s what your legislation says, here’s what’s actually happening on the ground, here’s the gap,’ Dale explains. “We’re hoping to mobilize all of this wonderful, vibrant energy and innovation and get it out there.”

NATURE

KINDERGARTEN For more information visit our blog at http://naturekindergarten.sd62.bc.ca/ or contact Frances Krusekopf fkrusekopf@sd62.bc.ca 250-474-9831 or Dr. Enid Elliot eelliot@uvic.ca

Aboriginal Education SD62

COMMUNITY GREEN SCENE • FEBRUARY 2012  •  9 12-01-19 1:46 PM

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Green Scene - Winter 2011

File created by

RRU Media Technologies / AT


Newspaper tales By Jennifer Blyth

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ylvia Walsh loves her community newspaper. After first poring over it for local news and thumbing through the grocery ads and flyers, the Cadboro Bay resident turns her attention to the many other uses she finds for her twice-weekly paper.

The list is seemingly endless. A stack of newspaper wrapped in a garbage bag and sealed with black duct tape makes a terrific kneeling pad for chores around the house or in the garden. Custom-

ize it to the size you like and “it’s a very versatile little item,” Walsh says. “Flexible, pliable – it can even be used as a cushion on lawn furniture or as a ground-seat around the barbecue or campfire.” In their Cadboro Bay location, Walsh and her husband often have to defend their garden from the voracious deer so a favourite item is definitely Walsh’s “Call of the Wild Megaphone,” a home-made newspaper deer-chaser. If it’s pests of the six-legged variety you’re fighting, loosely roll up your newspaper and secure with a band of light cardboard for the perfect trap for earwigs and sowbugs (and even a slug or two!) Walsh also makes her garden shoes and boots more comfortable with selfdesigned newspaper insoles. “The beauty is that you can make the newspaper

Sylvia Walsh uses “the Call of the Wild” to scare off deer from her Saanich garden. Jennifer Blyth photos

insoles as thin or as thick as needed (and they’re) easy to dispose of and recycle.” A laid-out newspaper can make a great impromptu boot tray for outdoor footwear or use it to catch drips when painting, but one of Sylvia’s favourite uses for her already well-read newspaper is as an additive to her compost, especially during the winter, when there isn’t a lot of dry material to balance the vegetable scraps and other additions. “The earthworms love the newspaper bits. In the extreme cold weather, the composter works fullsteam ahead. It is probably the insulating

qualities that keep the earthworms cozy and happy!” Need more ideas? The firmer, colourful advertising inserts make great instant bookmarks, and if you’re ever in need of an environmentally friendly way to protect your hands from hot or cold drinks – not to mention a great craft idea for the kids – try a newspaper drink cozy. The insulation factor keeps cold drinks cold in the summer and hot drinks hot in the cooler weather, Walsh says. Even better, “using flyers from the weekly newspaper adds extra colour and pizzazz!”

Green Burial

A New Choice for Victoria Royal Oak Burial Park is the first cemetery in Canada to offer green burial. Natural or green burial is a statement of personal values for those who, just as they lived their lives, seek to minimize their impact on the local and global environment at their death. Human remains are prepared for green burial without embalming and are buried directly in the ground in a fully biodegradable casket or alternative container. Natural burial is available exclusively at Royal Oak Burial Park in an area called the Woodlands.

We welcome your visit to the Burial Park to see the Woodlands or visit us online.

4673 Falaise Drive 10 • COMMUNITY GREEN SCENE • FEBRUARY 2012

250-658-5621 • www.robp.ca


Capital Regional District

Checked Your Pipes Lately?

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he capital region receives more than its fair share of rain each year which provides many benefits, creates a few challenges and offers several opportunities. The benefits can be seen all around us, from lush forests to beautiful gardens and high-quality drinking water. Some opportunities include rainwater harvesting and putting that water to use for irrigation, car washing and other household needs. One of the challenges of increasing rainfall is a corresponding increase of inflow and infiltration (I&I). What is inflow and infiltration you ask? Inflow is the rainwater that enters the sanitary sewer through improper plumbing connections; infiltration is the groundwater that seeps into the sanitary sewer through cracks in the sewer pipe. Both can be a particular problem, especially in areas with older sewer infrastructure due to outdated piping materials and the construction practices of the day. Ultimately, I&I increases the wastewater flows in the sanitary sewer system during storms. While sewers are designed to accommodate some I&I, too much can cause overflows and other significant problems. I&I related overflows can cause various outcomes including back-ups into homes and businesses which can damage personal belongings; spills onto roads, creeks and beaches which result in health hazards for residents and the environment; increased operational costs from increasing wastewater pumping and treatment; and potential costly upsizing of the sanitary systems to accommodate the I&I. What can you do to help issues from occurring? Studies show that approximately 50 per cent of I&I comes from private properties. Sources of this I&I include roof and foundation drains that are mistakenly connected to the sanitary sewer, leaky pipes or improper plumbing connections between your house and the sewer system. “What homeowners may not know is that they are responsible for maintaining the sewer lateral (pipe) that connects their house to the sanitary sewer system,“ explains Malcolm Cowley, Manager Engineering Design Services. “To help prevent incidents from occurring, homeowners can take some simple actions like checking gutters and drains to ensure they are not connected to the sanitary sewer, avoiding planting trees and shrubs over the sewer lateral and always replacing any known broken or leaky sections of their property’s sewer lateral. A plumber can inspect a sewer lateral with a camera to confirm that it is in good condition and not contributing to I&I.”

How are municipalities helping prevent I&I overflows from occurring? Municipalities work closely with the Capital Regional District (CRD) to find the sources of I&I. In order to identify problem areas, municipalities take to the streets and inspect problematic pipes through camera inspections, dye testing, smoke testing and even monitoring the sewer flow levels. By analyzing the data, it is possible to determine which pipes are damaged and if there is the potential to cause sanitary sewer overflows. How can rainwater harvesting help prevent I&I? In addition to reducing I&I and potential sewer back-ups and overflows, homeowners can even harvest rainwater and put it to good use. A basic rain harvesting system captures water from a roof and directs it to barrel or tank where it can be stored and re-used when it is needed. The stored rainwater may require some filtering and cleaning depending on its intended end use. Ultimately, rainwater harvesting helps prevent this valuable resource from going down the drain. Homeowners are encouraged to take the necessary steps to help stop overflows at the source. As well, they are advised to contact the CRD or their local municipality regarding any questions or concerns they may have regarding their sewer laterals. Protecting our region from sanitary sewer overflows is everyone’s responsibility. Now that’s a winwin for everyone. For more information on I&I visit www. crd.bc.ca/ini and for rainwater management check out www.crd.bc.ca/watersheds/lid.

Everyone needs a back-up plan. Of course, it’s even better to plan for prevention by knowing where the water goes and where it shouldn’t. Ensure that your plumbing connections are correct and the pipes are free of cracks. That way you’ll avoid damage to personal belongings and costly clean-ups caused by the inflow and infiltration of rainwater into our sanitary sewer system. To learn more about the causes of inflow and infiltration and what you can do to prevent it visit www.crd.bc.ca/ini

www.crd.bc.ca COMMUNITY GREEN SCENE • FEBRUARY 2012  •  11


Royal Roads University

Partnerships are the Future of Environ University has been a leader in teaching sustainability since its inception

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hen Royal Roads University VP Academic and Provost Steve Grundy was researching long-range transport of contaminants to the Arctic in the late 1980s and early 1990s, it became evident to him that our environment was in peril. “It was very clear from the research that we were doing that this pristine environment, of which Canadians were so proud, was not quite so pristine and it had nothing to do with what anyone was doing there. It was being transported to the Arctic from other places.” The research uncovered, for example, high concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in Inuit mothers’ milk, polar bear flesh and seal blubber – and these Arctic residents were not

the source of the problem. “That was a bit of a wakeup call,” Grundy says. “There’s only one planet here.” It was clear to Grundy that more education was needed and his opportunity to make that happen came in 1995, as a member of the small team that developed the initial education plan at Royal Roads. Over the course of four months, many people were invited to speak to the planning committee about

the future of post-secondary education and the gaps in programming. “One theme that emerged from all of those discussions was the importance of sustainability and sustainable development,” recalls Grundy, who worked as an environmental scientist and a chemist. “It was interesting to hear people say that this was going to be a big deal in the future because I thought it already was, but I didn’t think anybody else did.” It was from those meetings that Royal Roads decided to ingrain sustainability in all programs – from conflict management to tourism and communication – and recruit faculty who understood the concept, something Grundy said was extremely difficult at the time. “Sustainability was a relatively new term, so it wasn’t surprising that there

wasn’t a broad understanding,” says Grundy, who started at Royal Roads as a professor in the School of Environment and Sustainability before becoming dean of the Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences. “We were ahead of the time talking about sustainability and making sure it was embedded in all of our programs, including the Bachelor of Commerce and the MBA programs. That was pretty radical.” One of the many benefits of having sustainability rooted as a theme across the university, Grundy says, is the end product: well-rounded students with a strong understanding of the environmental challenges of today. The fact that Royal Roads is primarily targeted to working professionals means many of the students are in leadership roles. “You take decision makers and you

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Sustainability is the No. 1 challenge for humanity. We can’t stop. We have to do more and more and more in terms of education...We have to internationalize sustainability and as a country we have to practise what we preach.” – Steve Grundy

Dan Anthon photo/Royal Roads

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Royal Roads University VP Academic and Provost Steve Grundy has been working on environmental programming at the university since its inception in 1995. bring them into this environment where they’re removed from their decision-making, exposed to new ideas and rejuvenated with respect to sustainability and environment,” Grundy explains. “Then you put them back into their decision-making jobs and if that works well you should get fairly significant change occurring: that’s the whole strategy.” Similarly, undergraduate programs set up students with less professional experience to be the green leaders of tomorrow. “All the feedback I get from employers who have taken our students is very positive,” Grundy says. “They’re not superspecialized, but very applied and they can hit the ground running. They can see the bigger picture. They understand sustainability.” Looking to the future of environmental education at Royal Roads, Grundy says there will be added emphasis on carbon management. The university has been experiment-

ing with some short courses in carbon trading and management with a view to seeing if there’s potential for a specialization in a grad program in that area. But the main focus moving forward, Grundy says, will be on developing partnerships with other institutions. Already, Royal Roads is leading the way with its joint Master of Arts in Environmental Management in partnership with Tianjin University of Technology, which launches this year. It will be China’s first environmental management program at the graduate level. “Sustainability is the No. 1 challenge for humanity,” Grundy says. “We can’t stop. We have to do more and more and more in terms of education. The more we can do and the more global we can be in that education, the better. We have to internationalize sustainability and as a country we have to practise what we preach.”

AND GO SO FAR.

You don’t have to leave Victoria to move forward on your career path. At Royal Roads University, we offer options you can’t find anywhere else in the country. Tourism and Hospitality, Environment and Sustainability, or Business, Communications, Education, Leadership, or Conflict and Disaster Management – we’ve got a program for whatever interests you, so you can get ahead while staying close to home. Our flexible admissions process allows us to add your real world experience to your formal education, so you can follow your passion in our blended face-to-face and online programs without sacrificing your work or family life. Check us out at www.royalroads.ca then chat with an Enrolment Advisor to learn.more@royalroads.ca, or call 250-391-2528.

V I C TO R I A B C C A N A DA COMMUNITY GREEN SCENE • FEBRUARY 2012  •  13


‘Playing possom’ on Hornby Island

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any Victorians have followed the problems posed by the invasive American Bullfrog and its impact on local species. Purple loosestrife is a familiar challenge in the battle to protect local plant species. And the aggressive behaviour of the House Sparrow has been implicated in the declining numbers of some other native birds. But an Opossum? ‘Fraid so. One of the species highlighted on the Royal BC Museum’s new invasive species app, Aliens Among Us, is the North American Opossum (Didelphis virginiana). Roughly the size of a cat, the opossum sports a pointed snout, long, scaly tail, long, dense fur and naked black ears with white or pink tips. Its face is white while its body fur is white or grey, and it has five finger-like toes on each paw; as a marsupial, females also have a pouch. While most North American Opossums living in B.C. are in the lower Fraser River Valley – likely cross-border immigrants following an introduction to Washington State in 1925 – their appearance on Hornby Island was more recent, the Museum notes in Aliens Among Us. The opossum “makes its den in underground burrows, rock crevices, old stumps, hollow trees or woodpiles and is seen in forests, farmlands and urban areas. They are adaptable and live wherever they can find food, water and shelter. The North American Opossum hunts during the night and eat fruits, insects, and small animals. If you scare an opossum it might ‘play possum,’ pretending to be dead or injured with its mouth and eyes open and tongue hanging out.” In their overall impact opossums are seen as more of a nuisance than a threat – they can get into attics and basements and transmit disease, such as rabies, but generally don’t seem to harm habitat or native species, other than those they happen to eat. In a smaller, self-contained environment such as Hornby Island, however, the story can be different. “In 1986, a couple of opossums were released on Hornby Island, and, without competition or predators, their numbers expanded rapidly,” Aliens Among Us notes. “Over 600 were trapped in 1988, but there is still a large population. They eat substantial amounts of fruits, plants, small mammals, birds and eggs, and there is fear they will devastate native species.” 14 • COMMUNITY GREEN SCENE • FEBRUARY 2012

Alien-Spotting Garlic Mustard, Praying Mantis, Brown Trout, or perhaps your very own Wild Turkey...Seen any of these in your local travels? Find out with a new feature from the Royal BC Museum. The museum has launched its first iPhone/iPad app, Aliens Among Us, available as a free download from the iTunes store. The app, a first of its kind from a North American museum, allows users to monitor and track the spread of invasive species in British Columbia. B.C. has more than 4,000 alien species and detailed information – images, sound recordings, descriptions – for 47 of these is now available via the app or website. Listening to an American Bullfrog, or seeing invasive “rock snot” helps users identify these species and report them. Not sure if you have a Large Yellow Underwing or a Widemouth or Small-

There’s an App for that!

mouth Bass? The website includes video demonstrating the differences. Or “Ask an Expert” by sending your question to one of the Royal BC Museum’s natural history curators. Still not sure what you’ve got? Spotters can take a photo of the suspected alien, pin it to their location on the interactive Google map, and send their field notes to the museum. Each upload will be reviewed, the spotter will be notified by email, and the alien’s image will be posted to the website. The website also includes activities to bring aliens into the classroom. The Classroom has a collection of five learning objects, each with images, video, an interactive map and classroom activities about introduced plant and animal species in B.C. The learning object collection is linked to grades 4, 7, 10, 11 and 12 curriculum, but can be adapted to other grades and for infor-

mal learning outside the classroom. “Mobile applications are appealing to museums, it is a way to open a collection, extend an exhibition to a much wider audience – or in this case, help us chart the spread of alien species,” says Tim Willis, Director of Exhibitions and the Visitor Experience, Royal BC Museum. The two new digital pieces are part of a multi-faceted project reaching across the province that includes taking the Aliens Among Us exhibition to nine communities and offering presentations by RBCM curators. To explore the website and participate in the project visit: http://alienspecies.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/ Download the free Aliens Among Us app to an iPhone or iPad at the iTunes store: http://itunes.apple.com/om/ app/aliens-among-us-royal-british/ id479083111?mt=8


Capital Regional District

Water Efficiency Saves You Money, Protects Our Environment and Builds Healthy Communities

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s the rain falls from the sky, and our reservoir level rises, questions begin to surface about the summer watering schedule and water rates. The Capital Regional District’s (CRD) Integrated Water Services division manages the supply, treatment and delivery of bulk (wholesale) drinking water to its municipal customers in the Greater Victoria Drinking Water System. Every glass of refreshing tap water you pour comes from the local Sooke Reservoir.

In 2007, the CRD acquired the Leech River Watershed. This essential investment was made to ensure that as our community continues to grow, we can continue to have access to fresh, clean water. With this $65 million investment in infrastructure, an increase in water rates was required. This increase now ensures that the future supply of water for our region will be provided cost effectively. Currently the average annual household water use charge is just over $11 per month. This charge covers the expenses associated with disinfecting, delivering and protecting the water supply; as well as ensuring funds are available for renewing our infrastructure as it reaches the ends of its useful life. The CRD does not profit from the sale of water; you may notice a different water rate on your water bill than noted above due to municipal infrastructure and operations, delivery and administration costs. Even with the additional water supply, water conservation remains important not only for reducing water bills, but also for protecting the supply of some of the best drinking water in the world. Water conservation isn’t just about using less, it’s about using water as efficiently as possible. Sooke Reservoir is fed by a pristine, protected watershed, which means our water is naturally clean and clear, and requires little treatment. By actively reducing your water consumption, you are helping to keep our current Sooke Reservoir water supply secure, ensuring

quality water delivered to your tap year round. In the hot summer months, the reservoir is affected by lower water levels. With these reduced water levels, a greater amount of land area is exposed, increasing the likelihood of exposed sediments. Stabilizing water levels through efficient water use helps contribute to reliable water quality. Another benefit of reducing water consumption is keeping demand levels within the available supply of the Sooke Reservoir. Over the past 10 years, consumption has lessened enough to result in a delay in opening the Leech River Watershed from 2012 to past 2050. The cost savings for residents has been huge as getting this watershed system operating will cost $100+ million for a water treatment plant and an estimated $3 million per year to operate. In addition, due to the success of our conservation efforts, the estimated capital cost of the core area wastewater treatment plant has been reduced by $185 million. Water efficiency practices have demonstrated a significant return on investment for residents in the region. Without these reductions in water use, we all would likely be paying substantially more for the high quality drinking water that we enjoy today. Using water efficiently, saves money, protects our environment and helps build healthy communities. To find out more about the true value of our local water and more tips on water conservation visit www.crd.bc.ca/water.

Still amazingly affordable and, as always, priceless. By simply turning on the tap, CRD residents enjoy some of the freshest, cleanest and most delicious drinking water found anywhere in the world. At a wholesale rate of just 57 cents for 1000 litres, the CRD protects, disinfects, and provides drinking water safely and efficiently to those connected to the Greater Victoria Drinking Water System. Don’t let that amazingly good value go to waste though. Our local water is still a priceless resource that we all need to use wisely. For tips on water use efficiency, visit www.crd.bc.ca/water and watch for the Tap Into Sustainability campaign this spring!

www.crd.bc.ca COMMUNITY GREEN SCENE • FEBRUARY 2012  •  15


By Jennifer Blyth

First up on the spring gardening calendar is the season’s first big event, Seedy Saturday. Hosted by the James Bay Market Society, the annual celebration fills the Victoria Conference Centre with tips and trends, plants and potted shrubs, and all manner of seeds. (See related story) The Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary welcomes its annual Spring Native Plant Sale, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 21 and 22. The annual sale provides gardeners with an opportunity to select their favourites – and soon-to-be-favourites – from a list of about 120 species of native plants, from fawn lilies to sword ferns. Plants are sorted according to growing conditions, from sun to shade, dry to wet, allowing home gardeners to choose the right plant for their location. In addition to the great deals on local plants, visitors can enjoy workshops, presentations, demonstrations and displays on gardening with drought-tolerant native plants and developing wildlife habitat in urban settings – all included in the admission price. Proceeds support the Nature Sanctuary’s education programs. Complementing the plant sale is a series of Native Plant Gardening Workshops, held in conjunction with the Capital Regional District. A number of three-hour introductory workshops on gardening with droughtresistant native plants are planned throughout the spring, covering such topics as identifying native plants, their benefits, how and where to grow them, tips for reducing or eliminating lawns and more. For those already experienced in growing these local treasures, The Next Steps in Native Plant Gardening is scheduled for March 31. See www.swanlake.bc.ca for details. Looking to gain a little green gardening knowedge for the coming growing season? Start with Composting 101 from the Westshore Centre for Learning, hosted by Candace Thompson Feb. 6, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Explore different methods for creating humus for the garden, including sheet mulching, trenching and hot composting, composter design and construction and the DOs and DON’Ts for backyard bins. For details or registration, call 250-3919002. In town, the Greater Victoria Compost 16 • COMMUNITY GREEN SCENE • FEBRUARY 2012

Education Centre is an excellent resource for anyone with questions about turning their kitchen and garden waste into food for the garden. In addition to the centre’s free Composting Basics workshops, held one Saturday per month from 10 a.m. to noon, an Advanced Composting workshop has been added for those who have completed a Composting

Seedy Saturday Gets Gardens Growing Seedy Saturday Speaker Schedule

By Jennifer Blyth Victoria’s annual harbinger of spring, Seedy Saturday, will fill the Victoria Conference Centre in a few short weeks with the promise of another successful growing season. Hosted by the James Bay Market Society Feb. 18, the popular event is a terrific resource for gardeners, but also raises awareness of the need to preserve and diversify our seed sources. And while Seedy Saturday has been a winning formula since its inception, co-ordinator Pat McGuire has a few new ideas growing for this year. The Island Chefs Collaborative – hosts of the annual Local Food Festival at Fort Rodd Hill – will present short cooking demonstrations this year and kids’ activities will be more visible, located with the exhibits and coordinated by Lifecyles and the Compost Education Centre, McGuire says. The retail front will welcome new vendors of plants, garden products and food and there’s a host of entertaining and informative new speakers, along with a few familiar faces. The CR-FAIR (Capital Region Food and Agriculture Initiatives Roundtable) will host three presentations, including a showcase of this year’s local Food Security Heroes. Other areas of discussion include developing food security systems in the region, how policy is made to address agricultural issues such as the overabundance of deer, and what several neighbourhood groups are doing to produce food on urban lands.

10:15 a.m. • Resilient Food Gardens for a Changing Coastal Climate, Linda Gilkeson • The Magic of Mushrooms@Home, Scott Henderson, the Mushroom Man • Roses to Grow – A Thorny Subject? David Elliott,

Photo contributed

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hether your passions lean to native plants or organic growing, the local gardening community has plenty on offer this spring to keep you inspired.

Jennifer Blyth photo

Green gardens

Basics workshop. The next session is planned for March 24. A more specialized free program on Worm Composting is also scheduled for March 17. Complementing the centre’s composting programs is its Sustainable Home and Garden Series, Saturday afternoon workshops that cover everything from mason bees to weed management, plus a number of community programs. For more information, visit www.compost.bc.ca Saanich’s Horticulture Centre of the Pacific is another excellent resource for green gardening ideas, with everything from Native Plant Propagation Feb. 25 to Build a Mason Bee Condo March 31. Need help with the pollination of your fruit trees or veggies? Check out Pollination 101 April 29 while those concerned about how the world’s changing climate may affect local growing can check out Resilient Gardens for a Changing Coastal Climate, also April 29. Learn more at www.hcp.ca

Other topics this year include a history of native bees, effectively growing food despite climate changes, what’s new in ornamentals and plant hunting in China. And, back by popular demand will be growing mushrooms and raising chickens, McGuire notes. Of course, one of the focal points of the event is the Seed Exchange, where gardeners can purchase seeds donated by other backyard gardeners. For those who would like to donate or exchange seeds, simply ensure they are cleaned and packaged, labelled with the variety and year. Admission to this year’s event is $7, with those under 12 free. For more information, visit www. jamesbaymarket.com

11:30 a.m. • Keynote address – Hot New Plants: Cutting Edge Garden Plants for Cutting Edge Gardens, Gary Lewis, Phoenix Perennials • Tomatoes: Challenges and Treasures, Tina Baynes, Corner Farm • Backyard Chickens – Urban Hens, Marilyn Soames, Saanich Fair Poultry Show 12:45 p.m. • The Edible Revolution? Ingredients for Retooling Regional Food Systems, Jon Steinman, Deconstructing Dinner and Linda Geggie, CR-FAIR • Tales of Plant Hunting in SW China, Kelly Dodson and Sue Milliken, Far Reaches Farm • Growing Citrus in South Coastal BC, Bob Duncan, Fruit Trees and More 2 p.m. • Backyard Berries & Winter Preserves, Carolyn Herriot, The Garden Path Nursery • What’s the Current Hot Potato? Making Food Policy in the Capital Region, Pat Reichert, Moderator • More Than One Native: How Various Bee Pollinators Work With Flower Designs To Make Your Garden More Bountiful, Gord Hutchings, Hutchings Bee Service 3 p.m. • Food from the Hood: Backyards, Boulevards and More, Gabe Epstein, Moderator


TLC seeks public’s help to protect Island lands

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he Land Conservancy of BC is committed to protecting the wild hills and beaches within the Jordan River, Sandcut Beach and Sooke Hills areas on Vancouver Island for future public access. To save these properties for their significant environmental and recreational value, TLC is asking for the public’s support. TLC and CRD Parks have worked together for more than a decade in a visionary partnership to create a world-class parks and protected areas system for the Capital Region. Through this unique campaign, more than 7,400 acres of spectacular new parklands have been purchased and protected. TLC and CRD Parks are now moving forward with this vision through the Wild Hills and Beaches Campaign to purchase 5,800 acres of lands in the Jordan River, Sandcut Beach and Sooke Hills area. With the first two phases of three acquisitions already completed in August 2010 and August 2011, TLC requires approximately $2.75 million to fulfill the reminder of its commitment. The amount might be reduced through carbon credits and the CRD’s sale of the lands with lesser value. “Sandcut Beach, Jordan River and the

Sooke Hills are the definition of West Coast paradise. We must protect our wild hills and beaches for current and future generations to enjoy,” says Bill Turner, TLC’s Executive Director. “Everything is interconnected and their protection will impact the nature and quality of life on the Island, forever. Help enhance the world-class parks legacy in the Capital Region by contributing to TLC’s Wild Hills and Beaches Campaign.” During phase one, the CRD took over management of lands adjacent to Sooke Potholes, parcels surrounding Weeks Lake in the Leech watershed, and Sandcut Beach. The second parcel of land at Sandcut Beach transferred to the CRD ownership in August 2011. Parcels in Jordan River and remaining land in the Sooke Hills will be transferred in August 2012. “Many individuals, families and university classes have come to enjoy the trail, the forest and the spectacular beach. Sandcut Beach is indeed one of British Columbia’s ‘Special Places’ with amazing beauty and infinite educational value. It would be a tragedy indeed if it were lost to development,” says Nancy J. Turner, Distinguished Professor, University of Victoria, School of Environmental Studies. To help TLC and CRD Parks protect the wild hills and beaches by donating, or to find more information, visit www.conservancy. bc.ca or call 1-877-485-2422

TLC is working to protect local spaces like Sandcut Beach and the Sooke Hills. Heath Moffatt photos

Donate today at conservancy.bc.ca or 1-877-485-2422

ords... w r o f l u if t u a Too be Help Create a World Class Parks Legacy for the Capital Region. TLC requires $2.75 million to complete our Wild Hills and Beaches Campaign that will protect 5,800 acres of land in the Jordan River, Sandcut Beach, and Sooke Hills area. Sandcut Beach, photo Sylvan Mably

too important to lose!

Sooke Hills wilderness, photo John Hasell COMMUNITY GREEN SCENE • FEBRUARY 2012  •  17


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hile much is reported about global climate change due to greenhouse gas Onsite Wastewater Management: The Ecological Imperative emissions, less commonly Curt Kerns, M.S., R.P.Bio., C.F.S. WetlandsPacific Corp. discussed is the degradation of surface The consensus of atmospheric scientists is that we are altering the earth's climate by releasing vast quantities of dilute discharge concentrations of greenhouse and subsurface waters by the of gasses into the commons – the earth's atmosphere. While global climate change is often reported on, less commonly spoken about is the degradation of surface and subsurface waters by the discharge of wastewaters. Instead we have long hidden behind the euphemism “disposal”, as if it were wastewaters. true simply because we labelled it such. Curt Kerns While domestic wastewater was once akin to a dilute manure solution, since the industrial revolution it has

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Onsite Wastewater Management An Ecological Imperative “Instead, we have long hidden increasingly behindbecome thea devil's euphemism ‘disposal,” as if itandwere brew of endocrine disruptors, pharmaceuticals, personal care products (EDC/PPCPs). Even advanced municipal secondary wastewater treatment does little to remove contaminants true simply because we labelled it such,” says Curt Kerns, M.S., R.P.Bio., C.F.S., which have harmful ecological effects at parts per million, parts per billion, and even parts per trillion levels. enriched lakes, gender alterations and mutations of fish and wildlife in fresh water, and harmful algae Wetlands Scientist with WetlandsOverly Pacific blooms or “red Corp. tides” in coastal waters are but a few direct results. The University of British Columbia Okanagan Estrogens Project research has verified 1 part per trillion of estrogen can result in eggs being formed “While domestic wastewater was once akin totrillion a dilute manure since in male fish. Five parts per can extirpate (locally drivesolution, an organism extinct) fish populations by interfering with reproduction. Treated 88 ppt of estrogen. the industrial revolution it has increasingly become a municipal devil’swastewater brewcanofcontain endocrine Decentralized treatment dispersal is theEven ecologicaladvanced imperative. Properly designed, installed, and managed disruptors, pharmaceuticals and personal care and products. municionsite systems are sustainable on into the future. Wastewaters belong on land, in soil, wetlands, or forests, not in our surface subsurfaceto waters. pal secondary wastewater treatment doesandlittle remove contaminants which are a particularly advantageous to reclaim wastewaters have harmful ecological effects atConstructed parts wetlands per million, parts pertechnique billion, and even and can have many ancellary benefits, which studies have shown be greater than the value of contaminant removal. Constructed parts per trillion levels,” says Kerns, that overlycommonly enriched gender wetlands noting not only remove the substances monitored,lakes, but also heavy metals, trace contaminants and persistent organic pollutants such as DDT. They cost about as much as a community park to build and alterations and mutations of fisheven and wildlife in removal freshbutwater, andrecreation, harmful algae not only provide contaminant can also provide be a wildlife refuge, and are used for public education. With proper design and consideration, they are also an excellent way to preserve natural blooms or “red tides” in coastal waters wetlands. are just a few direct results. University of British Columbia Okanagan Estrogens Project research found that “one part per trillion of estrogen can result in eggs being formed in male fish. Five parts per trillion can extirpate (locally drive an organism extinct) fish populations by interfering with reproduction. Treated municipal wastewater can contain 88 ppt of estrogen.” What this means is that decentralized treatment and dispersal is the ecological imperative, Kerns says. Properly designed, installed and wetland at the Lighthouse Pub in Port Renfrew Kerns constructed wetland at the Lighthouse Pubphotoinby CurtPort managed onsite systems are AAconstructed Curt Kerns photo sustainable on into the future. Renfrew.  “Wastewaters belong on land, in soil, wetlands, or forests, not in our surface and subsurface waters.” Constructed wetlands are a particularly beneficial way to reclaim wastewaters and can have many ancillary benefits, which studies have shown be greater than the value of contaminant removal. “Constructed wetlands not only remove the substances commonly monitored, but also heavy metals, trace contaminants and even persistent organic pollutants such as DDT,” Kerns says. “They cost about as much as a community park to build and not only provide contaminant removal but can also provide recreation, be a wildlife refuge, and are used for public education. With proper design and consideration, they are also an excellent way to preserve natural wetlands.”


DVBA puts the cycle in recycle By Jennifer Blyth

P

edal power carries a lot of weight in downtown Victoria – literally.

In 2010, the Downtown Victoria Business Association formed a partnership with reFuse Resource Recovery to bring zero-emission composting pickup to downtown Victoria businesses. The result was reCYCLISTS, an initiative and business founded in Cowichan four years ago. Aboard an industrial-strength trike, DVBA Green Team member Darren Douglas rides a circuit around downtown, picking up organics for composting and more recently, recyclables from participating businesses. The bike carries six 48-litre tubs, capable of carrying close to 200 kilograms of compost and recycling per load. When full, Douglas drops the buckets at reFuse on Government Street, where the materials are recycled or composted. The cost for the easy, green program starts at just $10 for the weekly removal of a 48-litre tub for businesses. “We felt that there was an opportunity with the downtown business community to show leadership in the realm of sustainability and how we could do more,” says DVBA general manager Ken Kelly. After a successful start, “the board decided it was going so well, let’s take the next step,” Kelly says, and the compostable pick-up was expanded to recyclables too. “It’s steady and I can’t speak highly enough about those who made that (commitment).” Success stories have come from companies like the Dutch Bakery, which had taken a number of steps to be more sustainable, but hadn’t yet addressed its organic waste. To help the long-time Victoria bakery see what a difference the program might make, the DVBA offered a two-month trial opportunity and now there’s upwards of a half-tonne of organic waste diverted from Hartland landfill each month, Kelly says. The program was recognized in last year’s Capital Regional District EcoStar Awards. “Since its launch, the DVBA has signed up a wide variety of businesses for the collection program, including banks, garden centres, retail shops, a postsecondary institution and 65 stores contained within Market Square,” the CRD said in announcing the award. “Perhaps

most importantly, reCYCLISTS offers a recycling program otherwise unavailable to businesses in the downtown core, and is providing an important link in the waste reduction process in the CRD’s main urban centre.” The DVBA was honoured with the recognition. “It was absolutely wonderful,” Kelly says. “We’ve created an awful lot of programs for the downtown and it was great to have that recognized.” What do clients like about the reCYCLISTS experience? “It’s a very personalized service and we go into places and make that one-on-one contact with the business owners and staff,” says reCYCLISTS co-owner Aaron Bichard, noting there’s also an education component to the program. “People are taking the time to do their part, recycling and redirecting their waste...and doing it by pedal power, they understand it makes sense.” Today, the DVBA is offering any business within its boundaries a two-month trial with the reCYCLISTS program as a way to encourage more businesses to get involved; call 250-386-2111 for details.

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Photos courtesy DVBA

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Community

green

scene

To April 9 – Wildlife Photographer of the Year

CALENDAR

March 4 – Bring Wildlife to your Backyard, 1 to 4 p.m. at the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific. Learn about naturescaping, a way of gardening to provide animals with habitat for resting, nesting and food as they travel across the landscape that requires less water & general maintenance. HCP members $25; nonmembers $35. FMI: 250-479-6162 or www. hcp.ca

exhibit at the Royal BC Museum.

Jan. 28 – 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – Native Plant Gardening Workshop from the Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary and CRD. Learn about the identification and benefits of native plants, how and where to grow them, tips for reducing or eliminating lawns and more. Classes fill quickly – pre-register at 250-479-0211. FMI: www.swanlake.bc.ca

March 7 – 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – Native Plant Gardening workshop from the Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary and CRD. Learn about the identification and benefits of native plants, how and where to grow them, tips for reducing or eliminating lawns and more. Classes fill quickly – pre-register at 250-479-0211. FMI: www.swanlake.bc.ca

Jan. 30 – Info Session for Growing Food, 6:30 p.m. at Royal Roads University, 2005 Sooke Rd. Find out how to grow an abundant harvest of diverse food crops, without toxic chemicals, and right in your own garden. FMI: www.gaiacollege.ca/growing-food.html

Feb. 4 – Downtown Winter Market, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Market Square’s Inner Courtyard. FMI: victoriapublicmarket.com

Feb. 4 – Creating a Carbon Footprint Strategy, a continuing education class from Royal Roads University, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fee: $125. FMI: www.royalroads.ca/continuing-studies/ Feb. 8 – Native Plant Gardening Workshop from the Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary and CRD, 1 to 4 p.m. Learn about the identification and benefits of native plants, how and where to grow them, tips for reducing or eliminating lawns and more. Classes fill quickly – pre-register at 250-479-0211. FMI: www. swanlake.bc.ca

Feb. 9 – Solar Colwood Community Information Session, 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Colwood City Hall, 3300 Wishart Rd. This is a family friendly environment and refreshments will be served. FMI: www.solarcolwood.ca

Feb. 11 – Native Plant Gardening Workshop from the Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary and CRD, 1 to 4 p.m. Learn about the identification and benefits of native plants, how and where to grow them, tips for reducing or eliminating lawns and more. Classes fill quickly – pre-register at 250-479-0211. FMI: www. swanlake.bc.ca

Feb. 11 – The Ecological Crisis and a New Cosmology, a continuing education class from Royal Roads University, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fee: $75. www.royalroads.ca/continuing-studies/

Feb. 13 to march 2 – Accelerating Organizational Leadership in Climate Action, a three20 • COMMUNITY GREEN SCENE • FEBRUARY 2012

Jennifer Blyth photos

week online continuing education class from Royal Roads University, Fee: $295. FMI: www. royalroads.ca/continuing-studies/

Feb. 14 – Green Drinks Victoria meets, 5 to 7 p.m.-ish on the second Tuesday of each month at the Office Restaurant and Lounge, next door to the Dalton Hotel, 759 Yates St. Can’t make the gathering? Visit GreenDrinksVictoria.ning.com

Feb. 18 – Seedy Saturday at the Victoria Conference Centre, plus the Downtown Winter Market. FMI: www.jamesbaymarketsociety. com Feb. 19 – Spring Check List, 1 to 4 p.m. at the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific. Review general maintenance techniques and pruning basics, including hydrangeas, roses and springflowering shrubs. HCP members $25; nonmembers $35. FMI: 250-479-6162 or www. hcp.ca Feb. 19 – Native Plant Gardening Workshop from the Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary and CRD, 1 to 4 p.m. Learn about the identification and benefits of native plants, how and where to grow them, tips for reducing or eliminating lawns and more. Classes fill quickly – pre-register at 250-479-0211. FMI: www. swanlake.bc.ca

Feb. 23 – Info Session for the course Plant

Knowledge for Organic Gardeners, 6:30 p.m. at Royal Roads University, 2005 Sooke Rd. For information about the course visit the Gaia College website at http://www.gaiacollege.ca/ plant-knowledge-for-organic-gardeners.html

March 12 & 13 from 6:30 to 9 p.m.; March 17 from 9 a.m. to noon – Pruning Techniques provides an understanding of pruning and help to get the results you want in your garden. Two in-class sessions at the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific will cover the theory while the third will be a practicum in the Gardens at HCP. HCP members $90; non-members $125. FMI: 250-479-6162 or www.hcp.ca March 13 – Green Drinks Victoria meets, 5

its, a continuing education class from Royal Roads University, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fee: $225. FMI: www.royalroads.ca/continuing-studies/

to 7 p.m.-ish on the second Tuesday of each month at the Office Restaurant and Lounge, next door to the Dalton Hotel, 759 Yates St. Can’t make the gathering? Visit GreenDrinksVictoria.ning.com

Feb. 25 – Native Plant Propagation, 1 to 4

March 13 – Info Session for the Organic Mas-

Feb. 24 – Developing or Buying Carbon Cred-

p.m. at the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific. Brenda Costanzo, co-author of Native Plants in the Coastal Garden, begins in the classroom with an introduction to the best plants for the home garden and how to propagate these species, followed by a hands-on session. Bring gardening gloves, secateurs and a box or bag to carry home new treasures! HCP members $35; non-members $49. FMI: 250-479-6162 or www.hcp.ca

Feb. 26 – Hummingbird Day at Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary, noon to 3 p.m. Learn all about the hummingbirds in your neighbourhood through crafts, stories, hands-on exploration and hummingbird watching. Admission by donation. FMI: www.swanlake.bc.ca or 250-479-0211.

March 3 & 17 – Downtown Winter Market, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Market Square’s Inner Courtyard. FMI: victoriapublicmarket.com

ter Gardener Course, 6:30 p.m. at Royal Roads University, 2005 Sooke Rd. FMI: www.gaiacollege.ca/organic-master-gardener-course.html

March 18 – Native Plant Gardening Workshop from the Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary and CRD, 1 to 4 p.m. Learn about the identification and benefits of native plants, how and where to grow them, tips for reducing or eliminating lawns and more. Classes fill quickly – pre-register at 250-479-0211. FMI: www.swanlake.bc.ca

March 18 – Getting Ready for the 2012 Garden, 1 to 4 p.m. at the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific. Bring your questions to this troubleshooting workshop with Linda Gilkeson. Ask questions, find out how to solve problems for this year or, better yet, avoid them altogether. HCP members $25; non-members $35. FMI: 250-479-6162 or www.hcp.ca

See more events page 22


Capital Regional District

Jason Finnerty Took The Challenge – Did You?

KINECT WITH SUSTAINABILITY

I

n Fall 2011, the Capital Regional District (CRD) held a twitter campaign called the Slogan Master Challenge in an effort to increase awareness that what goes down the drain can impact not only the environment, but also wastewater treatment processes, infrastructure and ultimately human health.

The campaign asked residents to use their creative minds to come up with catchy slogans. Residents quickly started posting their slogans on twitter and the campaign took off. The CRD worked in partnership with the Post Consumer Pharmaceutical Stewardship Association and the British Columbia Pharmacy Association on this campaign to help educate residents on proper disposal methods for expired and leftover medications. Ultimately, all unused or expired medications found in your medicine cabinet, bathroom or home should be returned to your local pharmacy for safe disposal. When you are doing your spring cleaning, remember to return all those unwanted medications. The campaign ran for a two month period with numerous slogans received. The judges then reviewed and deliberated; choosing the following slogan submitted by Jason Finnerty (@brandscaping) as the winner: “Fish can’t say no to drugs. Bring old meds to your pharmacist.” “Like most Victorians I am interested in keeping this beautiful island safe and healthy, so I thought this contest was a great opportunity to apply my wit (or what passes for it...) and do a good deed. I reviewed the CRD site to learn more about the right message, came up with a few ideas, and then submitted them. I was quite ecstatic to be selected as the winner. Good luck to the participants in the Spring 2012 contest, and thank you to the CRD for holding this contest,” said Jason Finnerty (@brandscaping). Over the past five years the CRD has seen a significant amount of medication properly disposed of at local pharmacies, one of the highest return of disposal rates per capita in BC. In 2010, over 8000 kilograms were properly returned – that is equivalent to almost half of a garbage truck full! It is campaigns like the Slogan Master Challenge that help get the word out on proper disposal. SustainableU.ca holds various challenges year round to help engage and educate residents of the capital region on various environmental programs and behaviours.

Jason Finnerty winner of the Slogan Master Challenge. For the month of February, residents can register to participate in the Phat King Challenge. Different from previous challenges, this one requires a little love of greasy foods…like bacon. And if you collect the largest amount of fats, oils and grease within the one month period – you could win an XBox 360 with Kinect bundle. Contest registration and details are available at www.sustainableu.ca/fat. Normally we would ask you not to pour that nasty grease down the drain but to place all forms of fats, oils and grease in sealable containers, refrigerate them until they become solid and discard them with your household garbage. However, for this special contest we’re asking you to collect that grease and register for the Phat King Challenge – so you can win! For more information on properly returning expired or unused medications, or registering for the Phat King Challenge, please visit www.sustainableu.ca. Entries are being accepted until February 26. If collecting fat is not up your alley, watch for Slogan Master round two coming this spring. Take the challenge and you could win!

That name again is Phat King. We’d like you to consider what you shouldn’t be putting down a drain. Like fats, oils and grease, for instance. Connect with Sustainable U on Facebook. Take the Phat King Challenge and you could win an Xbox 360 with Kinect bundle. The winner of this challenge will be selected by a panel of judges, not by random draw.

Scan to connect with SustainableU.ca instantly. COMMUNITY GREEN SCENE • FEBRUARY 2012  •  21


Community

green

scene

CALENDAR

March 24 – CRD All Efficient Irrigation System Workshop, 2 to 5 p.m. at the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific, for those considering the purchase, installation or upgrade of an irrigation system. Pre-register at 250-474-9684.

April 14 – CRD Micro/Drip Irrigation Workshop, 1:30 to 4:30

May 26 & 27 – Bottles for Greenspace bottledrive fundraiser

p.m. at Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary, for those considering the purchase, installation or upgrade of an irrigation system. Preregister at 250-474-9684.

for The Land Conservancy. Drop returnable bottles and cans at Elk Lake Regional Park parking lot on Brookleigh Road from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. FMI: http://blog.conservancy.bc.ca

March 19 to 23 – Eco-Camp, 1 to 4 p.m. Through outdoor

April 14 & 21 – Connecting the Environment, Local Food

May 27 – Bee Day, noon to 3 p.m. at Swan Lake Nature House.

Security and Citizenship, a continuing education class from Royal Roads University; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 14, plus afternoon field trip from 1 to 4:30 p.m. April 21. Fee: $125. FMI: www.royalroads.ca/continuing-studies/

Bee amazed, bee enchanted and bee happy. Bee there or bee square. Admission by donation. FMI: www.swanlake.bc.ca or 250-479-0211.

games and activities, spring breakers will learn about the flora and fauna of the West Coast environment at Mt. Douglas Park. Fee: $90. FMI: www.saanich.ca

March 31 – The Next Steps in Native Plant Gardening, from Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary and CRD Environmental Sustainability, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. A free workshop is for people who have completed the introductory Native Plant Gardening Workshop. Pre-register early as this class will fill quickly. FMI: 250-470-0211. FMI: www.swanlake.bc.ca

April 29 – Wildflower Weekend at Swan Lake Nature House,

March 31 – Build a Mason Bee Condo, 1 to 4 p.m. The design

April 21 & 22 – Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary Spring Native

encourages periodic viewing of the bees within and has two styles of channel widths to attract a range of species throughout the summer season. No prior carpentry experience is necessary; materials and tools provided. HCP members $40; nonmembers $55. FMI: 250-479-6162 or www.hcp.ca

April 10 – Green Drinks Victoria meets, 5 to 7 p.m.-ish on the second Tuesday of each month at the Office Restaurant and Lounge, next door to the Dalton Hotel, 759 Yates St. Can’t make the gathering? Visit GreenDrinksVictoria.ning.com

April 11 – 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – Native Plant Gardening Workshop from the Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary and CRD. Learn about the identification and benefits of native plants, how and where to grow them, tips for reducing or eliminating lawns and more. Classes fill quickly – pre-register at 250-4790211. FMI: www.swanlake.bc.ca

April 14 – Planting a Chefs’ Garden, 9 to 11:30 a.m. at the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific. Lynda Dowling will explore how to grow, harvest and use a wonderful selection of herbs. Go home with new recipes, a selection of six herbs & the confidence to use them. HCP members $35; non-members $49. FMI: 250-479-6162 or www.hcp.ca April 14 – 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – Native Plant Gardening Workshop from the Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary and CRD. Learn about the identification and benefits of native plants, how and where to grow them, tips for reducing or eliminating lawns and more. Classes fill quickly – pre-register at 250-4790211. FMI: www.swanlake.bc.ca

April 14 – Ethnobotany of Southern Vancouver Island, 1 to 4 p.m. at the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific. Learn how local First Nations have used the different species of plants in all aspects of life, incl. the history of food gathering and related technologies. A short classroom session will be followed by a tour of HCP’s Ethnobotany Trail. HCP members $25; nonmembers $35. FMI: 250-479-6162 or www.hcp.ca 22 • COMMUNITY GREEN SCENE • FEBRUARY 2012

12 to 3 p.m. Celebrate the wonderful world of wildflowers with guided tours of the native plant garden, hikes to Christmas Hill, crafts for the kids and wildflower revue. FMI: www.swanlake.bc.ca or 250-479-0211. Plant Sale, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. FMI: www.swanlake.bc.ca or 250479-0211.

June 3 – Rivers Oceans Day Festival at Esquimalt Gorge Park.

June 9 – Native Bees of the Gardens at HCP, 1 to 3 p.m. at the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific. Learn about the many varieties of local bees, what plants they visit, their biology, habitat requirements and visit some of their forage areas in the HCP Gardens. HCP members $25; non-members $35. FMI: 250479-6162 or www.hcp.ca

April 29 – Resilient Gardens for a Changing Coastal Climate, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific. What do changing local conditions mean to food gardens and food security? Learn how to design adaptable fruit and vegetable gardens, and how to become a resilient gardener. HCP members $25; non-members $35. FMI: 250479-6162 or www.hcp.ca

April 29 – Pollination 101, 2 to 4 p.m. at the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific Learn about pollination and factors that can affect fertilization, how to attract pollinators, how to hand-pollinate and avoid cross-pollination. HCP members $25; non-members $35. FMI: 250-4796162 or www.hcp.ca

Jennifer Blyth photos

May 8 – Green Drinks Victoria meets, 5 Head to Fort Rodd Hill for the Defending Our Back Yard Local Food Fest. to 7 p.m.-ish on the second Tuesday of each month at the Office Restaurant and Lounge, next door to the Dalton Hotel, 759 Yates St. Can’t make the gathering? Visit GreenDrinksVictoria.ning.com

May 12 – Container Vegetable Gardening, 1 to 3 p.m. at the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific. Learn how to grow vegetables in containers and how to utilize vertical gardening to save space and maximize yield. Take home some veggie starts and start your own container garden. HCP members $30; non-members $42. FMI: 250-479-6162 or www.hcp.ca

May 26 – CRD All Efficient Irrigation System Workshop, 2 to 5 p.m. at Vancouver Island Public Library, Sidney, for those considering the purchase, installation or upgrade of an irrigation system. Pre-register at 250-474-9684.

June 10 – Island Chefs Collaborative Food Fest, “Defending our Backyard,” at the Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site. FMI: www.iccbc.ca

June 12 – Green Drinks Victoria meets, 5 to 7 p.m.-ish on the second Tuesday of each month at the Office Restaurant and Lounge, next door to the Dalton Hotel, 759 Yates St. Can’t make the gathering? Visit GreenDrinksVictoria.ning.com

June 23 – CRD Micro/Drip Irrigation Workshop, 2 to 5 p.m. at at the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific, for those considering the purchase, installation or upgrade of an irrigation system. Pre-register at 250-474-9684.

Send your Green Events to jblyth@telus.net


fun activity page

How are Dana, Dylan and Sprinkle saving water in the bathroom?

Compliments of

Answer: By turning off the tap while they brush their teeth, using a 6-litre toilet, and having 5-minute showers.

Courtesy of the Capital Regional District

COMMUNITY GREEN SCENE • FEBRUARY 2012  •  23


EVOLVE TOWARD A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE.

It’s our only choice. We know it; you know it. Environmental change and sustainable growth, locally to globally, is deeply affected by the awareness and practices of the business and public sectors.

Through Royal Roads’ blended-learning model, working professionals combine online courses with short, on-campus residencies, so you can further your education, work, and maintain your personal life.

The environment meets those two sectors at the nexus of Royal Roads University. We offer a variety of certificates and undergraduate or graduate programs in environment and management, environmental practice, sustainable community development, sustainable tourism, environmental education or environmental science.

We welcome any questions you might have. Please visit us, at www.royalroads.ca, or contact our Enrolment Advisors: learn.more@royalroads.ca, or 1-877-778-6227.

V I C TO R IA BC C ANADA 24 • COMMUNITY GREEN SCENE • FEBRUARY 2012


Feb 1, 2012 Community Green Scene