Galiano: an Educational Journey By Eric Lee
After two short ferry rides, we arrived on Galiano Island. Once there, we began with an enjoyable walk through a healthy, old growth forest, while learning about different indicator species at different positions on the slope. This was directly related to the amount of water and nutrients in the soil. The next day (after battling the noisy demon of sleep) we learned about how the forest is connected, and there is a cycle in the woods, involving dead and living plants. Afterwards, we visited a forest that had been recently cut down and replanted with only a single species, and learned about restoration efforts to re-establish biodiversity. It was inspiring to see people trying to heal a natural ecosystem instead of destroying it. The work they are doing is vital, because without them, the forest could take up to a thousand years to naturally heal. At this point in the world, we need as much natural beauty as we can possibly muster. Also, learning what species live at varying levels of nutrients is important, as they are easy indicators to see how rich the soil is. The lessons learned on Galiano are key in understanding the effects of clear cutting in other parts of the world. When everything living is removed from a space, that area suffers. The damage done by us can take centuries to repair itself. By replacing everything with just one species, and reducing the biodiversity to zero, we are creating an area susceptible to a deadly disease, and creating unhealthy trees. Without things like snags and coarse woody debris, the trees cannot flourish. These teachings must be remembered on a larger, global scale. If we do not open our eyes to the small scale examples, who knows what damage we will do to vast areas.
Galiano: A Trip to Remember By Mary Nguyen
We departed Swartz Bay terminal in the morning and roughly 1 hour later we arrived at Galiano Island. After the hectic and bumpy bus ride, we split into 2 groups and that’s when we started our adventure. My group started off with the huge hike on the from the Millard Learning Centre down towards the Great Beaver Swamp. When we all reunited again at the Learning Center, my friends and I decided to explore the area. From there we discovered a giant cliff with a magnificent view, better than I’ve ever seen before. Next day we hiked down to Pebble Beach and if I could describe it in one word, it would be exquisite. Sitting on the log and admiring the view, made me realize how much I took for granted living on the west coast.
Over the course of this trip, I’ve learned facts about various plants and their habitats. For example, I can establish my position on a slope by identifying the types of “indicator” species that are growing there. I also learned about the differences between a mature forest and a logged forest. It really opened my eyes to see how destructive the logging industry can be on such a large scale in a relatively small space. Since the rows were placed in close proximity, the canopy gaps were too small, which caused a lack of sunlight that is necessary for a healthy understorey to grow. In addition to harming the forest, it upset the balance of the forest floor connections, which disturbed the mycelia and destroyed the ecosystem. This caused the diversity to be bland. I now have a broader perspective of the ecosystem around me. I can further use this knowledge to better the environment that’s surrounding me and educate others who take our planet for granted.