by Rose
(Port Alberni BC Canada)

I am doing research on growing wildlife foraging plants to use in enhancement plantings with wildlife in mind.
My thoughts after seeing bears too skinny to hibernate and the young fawn who have health issues due to the poor forage or toxic forage for local deer populations.
I could go on about the contaminated water in the creek 3 houses away that runs by the hospital 10 blocks upstream, or the dry creek for most of the warm seasons with limited water sources.
I look at the clear cut logging areas with the bomb like disarray after they are done. If I can not navigate these areas nor can the deer or elk with young.
I read your post on wildlife gardens, going beyond the urban gardens for birds and bees. I want to replant berry bushes out in the forests to move the wildlife back out to forage reducing the vehicle wildlife mortality.
I would like to hear from your experience your thoughts and perspectives on this. Perhaps you know of other people or groups on or close to Vancouver Island BC Canada that are doing or have plans to do this type of rewilding for wildlife.
I thank you for your time and look forward to your response

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Dec 17, 2023
Thank you for letting me know about your project on forage plants for wildlife
by: Caroline

Dear Rose

Thank you for your question. You are most welcome to share your concerns and your goals here. I feel that many of the reader's of this blog will be in sympathy with you and perhaps some of them are doing projects aligned with the one you describe and it is a good place to air your mission.

I think its universally true that to support particular species you need to know what they need so research is the best way to start. University ecologists and wildlife organizations and all kinds of sources can be helpful. Perhaps you can get funded by aligning yourself with a university research project.

For horticultural knowledge about growing the plants, local native plant nurseries, botanical gardens and nature organizations may help. You may get people interested in your project there too. One often needs a collectors license to get access to wild seed, rather then the tamed berry plants found in nurseries. I just went a ahead and sowed plants, finding the online instructions on growing our wild plants sparse and only marginally helpful.

My sister bought a patch of forest in a lake on a rocky hillside in the PNW, only to see her land clear-felled by the previous owner and neighbor before the beacons were established. The wood was massive and old and hard to remove and its just lying there. She cried a lot and it is a crying waste all around. She is trying to replant the forest and the expense of saplings is a bottleneck.

When I did a course in forest building they taught us that a nursery for growing plants to do rehabilitation is a necessity for economic reasons. This may be a universal truth, or apply to most people doing restoration around the world.

The plants in your area may grow well when direct sown into the ground, but I find that with our natives this technique mostly fails and I need a nursery to get the plants going.

If you want to try direct sowing, you could use clay balls perhaps, to stop the seeds from being devoured by rodents before they can germinate. Research on the clay balls or seed balls shows mixed results, but as with gardening everything is about the context of climate and soil.

I do not know anyone on Vancouver Island directly. In my area it took a long time to find a group doing the stuff I wanted to do. I googled and googled the issue, for me it was Fynbos rehabilitation, and then once I found a nursery catering for rehabilitation, I found an organization collaborating with them, and after the first organization I began to find others closer and closer to home, physically and ideologically.

The thing with groups is that one tends to have to subordinate one's own vision. That is good if you only have an hour a week, but if you want to create a project and have a strong vision that doesn't really fit exactly into the categories around you its best to start something yourself I think.

On the other hand, doing it all alone may not really accomplish as much. Social traction and help is absolutely necessary to scale up.

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