Parks Services News:
Unique Eco-Art Partnership
A unique partnership has officially been recognized by the Regional District of Central Okanagan and the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus.
The two have teamed up through a Memorandum of Understanding and Lease Agreement to use a portion of the recently expanded Woodhaven Nature Conservancy Regional Park in order to implement a unique Eco-Art program on the new park property.
The formation of the Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre builds on a highly successful Eco-Art project that was held in the main part of the park during 2010. It saw student artists from UBCO create multiple works of Eco-Art within the park. The key principle behind Eco-Art is that it doesn’t harm the environment of the park in any way and utilizes the natural surroundings in the creative arts process. Earlier this year at Woodhaven, the Faculty hosted a number of public events involving the Eco-Art theme with a visiting artist from Newfoundland.
The agreement will see graduate students of the Faculty and visiting artists residing in and using buildings on the property as they explore Eco-Art projects and provide activities, events and workshops. The 3.5-hectare property was added to Woodhaven Nature Conservancy Regional Park earlier this year. While it remains closed to the public until a management plan and trails are developed, it will be accessible and open for publicized special activities and events that are related to the Eco-Art and Culture Centre partnership.
Regional District Chair Robert Hobson says, “Woodhaven’s unique natural setting was preserved thanks to the vision and environmental activism of Joan and Jim Burbridge many years ago. The Eco-Art projects with UBC have been a huge success and show that creative endeavors can take place with total sensitivity to the natural environment. Through this formal agreement with UBC, we look forward to expanding the artistic horizons of graduate students by providing them with a unique natural canvas and inspiring residents across the region through the Eco-Art creations and programs offered through the Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre.”
The university is pleased that students and faculty will now have access to an exceptional property to enhance their educational experience.
“It is vital that our students have opportunities to learn and express their creativity beyond the classroom,” says Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal Deborah Buszard. “The Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre provides a wonderful new opportunity for artists, writers and poets to study in a stimulating, natural setting.”
For Nancy Holmes, poet, creative writing professor and associate dean for UBC’s Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies, the Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre is the culmination of a long-held dream for an innovative multi-use space where visiting artists, scholars, and graduate students can live, work, create and research.
“This has been on our wish list for a long while,” says Holmes. “The Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre provides facilities to focus on art, research and culture. Students can delve ever deeper into their studies and stroke their creative process without distraction.”
The Faculty plans to develop summer artist and research programs at the Centre and is promoting partnerships with local groups for activities, events and educational opportunities.
“The Eco Culture Centre has been established as a resource for the public as well as students and faculty,” says Holmes. “As this becomes a thriving hub of cultural activity the more people will benefit from this unique partnership UBC has with the Regional District of Central Okanagan.”
The Memorandum of Understanding and Lease Agreement between the Regional District and UBCO will run for two years.
Fuel Modification Project Continues
Over the coming months a small fuel modification project will continue in a section of Rose Valley Regional Park.
During the past year, as crews have been available, the BC Wildfire Management Branch has been working in a two-hectare portion of the park off Bowes and Pettman Roads. Crews are brushing, thinning and removing fire hazard trees and ladder fuels as part of a multi-year fuel modification project on a ten hectare section of the park above Bear Creek Road. View Map
While BC Wildfire Management Branch crews are working in this area of Rose Valley Regional Park, visitors should be aware that some trails may be temporarily closed. For their safety and that of the workers, please stay out of any closed area.
Collected wood debris will be piled for disposal when open burning is allowed and when both air quality and venting conditions are favourable. This work has received approval by West Kelowna Fire Rescue and will be conducted in accordance with Regional District Air Quality and Open Burning regulations.
Prior to any decision to proceed with burning on a particular day, local fire authorities and media will be advised.
For more information visit the Regional District Parks Services webpage regionaldistrict.com/parks, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-469-6232.
Fruit, Spawning Salmon, Regional Parks and Bears
Visitors of many Central Okanagan Regional Parks can encounter wildlife at any time. But this time of year, our more natural Regional Parks require more bear awareness.
As Kokanee salmon spawn and fruit is ripening in orchards across the Central Okanagan, evidence of bear activity is increasing as their search for food brings them into the valley from the higher elevations.
Evidence that bears are around is already occurring along the Mission Creek Greenway, in Mission Creek, Scenic Canyon and Hardy Falls Regional Parks. They’re also known to frequent other more natural regional parks like Woodhaven Nature Conservancy, Mill Creek, Bertram Creek, John’s Family Nature Conservancy, Kalamoir, Glen Canyon and Rose Valley.
Communications Officer Bruce Smith says, “Our parks staff and visitors start seeing more bears in some of our Regional Parks at this time of year. As sightings increase, we post signs advising that the animals may be active in the area.”
“To reduce your chance of encountering a bear,” he says “you should travel in a group, make noise or carry something that makes noise. During the fall fish spawning season, park visitors may encounter bears along local creeks and rivers, because the Kokanee are a plentiful food source. Please be aware that bears fishing for food may not hear you over the noise of the creek water. If you see a bear, give it plenty of space and stay well away from it.”
People should respect all bears and anticipate and avoid encounters with them whenever possible. Bears can be aggressive, especially when defending their food or their cubs. They also have excellent senses of smell and hearing, and better sight than you might believe. Dog owners are reminded when in Regional Parks that their pets must be leashed and kept on trails at all times. It’s not only the law, but will help avoid any potentially serious wildlife encounter.
Residents have a role to play on their property by keeping any garbage securely stored and wheeling their garbage cart out only on the morning of their regular curbside collection. That will help reduce the potential temptation for bears or other wildlife.
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