Tree Walk in Jericho Park
Report & Photos by Helen Baker
On April 30, Ryan Regier, a tree enthusiast and UBC librarian, and Laura Cottle, a forester, guided a group of tree-lovers through Jericho Park, an urban forest with a mix of deciduous and conifer trees. With Ryan and Laura’s help, we learned to identify some common trees by examining bark, leaves, needles and cones.
Starting at the east side of the park, we followed a path that runs by the duck pond and into the forest. Ryan and Laura talked about native, introduced and invasive species and we stopped to look at Cottonwoods, Alder, Mountain Ash, a California Redwood and a towering Grand Fir. We also learned some fun facts about trees in history – like how the Yew tree made wonderful bows that dominated the battlefield in the days before gunpowder.
Jericho is named after Jeremiah Rogers, who logged the virgin forests in the 1860’s. Once a Musqueum Nation Village, the land has also served as an army base with barracks and the Jericho Golf Course. Trees from the land were used to repair Captain Vancouver and Captain Galiano’s ships when they arrived in English Bay in 1790.
Both the past use of the land and its proximity to neighbourhood gardens have shaped the tree collection we see at Jericho Park forest today. Everything from oaks planted in rows for the former golf course and pink flowering Japanese Cherry trees to a far-from home California Redwood.
The California Redwood has pithy bark and a root for each limb; adaptations that help this ancient giant survive in times of drought.
The large-lobed leaves of the Sycamore Maple are an adaptation that helps them gather sunlight and grow when struggling for light under shady conifers.
Among the native and introduced trees are also many escapees from local gardens. We saw ornamental Japanese Cherry, Horse Chestnut – likely growing from a conkle cached by a squirrel – and the rare Portuguese Laurel. We also found some invasive garden plants, like the English Ivy and Christmas Holly, spread by birds that feed on its red berries.
Ryan Regier is a librarian, and writes about trees and forests at his blog: https://awayofhappening.wordpress.com/
Laura Cottle is a forester and educator, and a member of the Nature Vancouver Board of Directors.