The Urban Biodiversity Enhancement and Restoration Project is inviting the community to a very unique birthday party — their wetland is turning 10 on Sat., June 29. (Photo courtesy of Urban Biodiversity Enhancement and Restoration Project)

Saanich farm hosts birthday party as wetland turns 10

The Urban Biodiversity Enhancement and Restoration Project invites community to 10th birthday for wetland

The Urban Biodiversity Enhancement and Restoration (UBER) Project at Haliburton Community Organic Farm is inviting the community to a very unique birthday party — their wetland turns 10 on Saturday, June 29. The party starts at 10 a.m. and the festivities run until 1 p.m.

Party-goers will be able to take a tour of the wetland, learn about the future of the Haliburton Watershed and, of course, eat some cake.

Ten years ago, volunteers began working to transform a field overrun by invasive reed canary grass into a wetland. With the help of many, two ponds were excavated and prepared with liner materials. Then, the team let the rain do the rest.

READ ALSO: B.C. wetlands grow with land purchase by conservation groups

Birds, bugs and tree frogs have happily made the wetland their home. Native plants have also transformed the area around the wetland called a wet meadow.

Volunteer native plant experts, James and Kristen Miskelly, have helped make the wet meadow a success.

“The wetland is human-made, but nature is accepting it,” says UBER Project founder and coordinator, Purnima Govindarajulu.

UBER Project’s goal is to encourage more wetland-building in urban areas.

“Nature can co-exist within cities — in fact we need it to,” says Govindarajulu, a wildlife biologist.

Govindarajulu took on the wetland project after taking her students from the University of Victoria to the farm for an environmental studies field trip.

It was a spur of the moment decision, she says. Four students joined her at the time and one is still involved.

“The wetland came to life and life happened around it,” says Govindarajulu when asked about the sense of community between the volunteers.

A transformation video will play on a loop at the party so that attendees can see how the wetland grew out of the empty field.

Govindarajulu, Kristen and James and many other volunteers will be in attendance at the party. Public tours will start at 10:15 a.m., 10:45, 11:15 and 12:15 p.m., and the birthday cake will be cut at noon. Other activities will include a plant sale at Saanich Native Plants and an interactive model of the planned Haliburton Watershed.


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