Science Technology

Ecological Restoration Assistant

Description

By learning to distinguish native and invasive plants, doing invasive species removal, seeding and transplanting native plants, the student worked to restore a parcel of land on the VIU campus to a biodiverse, native plant-rich area.

Position Overview

Due to human disturbance, very little native habitat remains on the VIU campus. Some areas that are left unmanaged have become overgrown by highly invasive plants such as non-native grasses, Scotch broom and Himalayan blackberry, and are currently of very low ecological value. In 2020, VIU’s Eco Club gained permission from the University to begin a restoration project on a parcel of degraded land behind building 370 and a small restoration plot was established in early spring of 2021. The Ecological Restoration Assistants will work together with Professor Caroline Josefsson (Biology) and members of VIU’s Eco Club (students from many different disciplines) to maintain and expand the restoration plot established in 2020. The work will involve invasive species removal, site preparation, seeding and transplanting of native plants, weeding, and installation of an exclusion fence to keep feral rabbits at bay. The work will, at times, be dirty but is sure to be rewarding. While carrying out hands on work, we’ll have a chance to reflect on how plants use different life cycles to adapt to their local environment, the relationship between plants and their pollinators, and how humans affect the land on which they live. First Peoples have been on this land for tens of thousands of years. In the past 8000 years, their activities gave rise to a highly biodiverse cultural landscape referred to as the Garry Oak Ecosystem. This landscape gave food and medicine and was carefully maintained, in part through regular fire regimens. Since settler arrival, almost all the Garry Oak Ecosystem in our area has been destroyed or severely degraded through development, disturbance, and fire suppression. Our restoration project intends to bring back as many of the Garry Oak Ecosystem-associated species as we can to this small parcel of land.

Position Requirements

The Ecological Restoration Assistant will work together with Professor Caroline Josefsson (Biology) to maintain the restoration plots on the Nanaimo campus. The work will involve general maintenance of the two plots, weeding, site preparation, seeding, and transplanting as needed. Onboarding and hands-on training will be provided by Caroline. The student must be able to work outdoors in a wide range of weather conditions and be able to walk on uneven ground.

Graduate Attributes Associated

  • Active Learning
  • Disciplinary Expertise
  • Foundations for Lifelong Learning
  • Indigenous Perspective
  • Integrative Learning
  • Local Knowledge in a Global Context

Sign Up Directions

For more information, please contact Caroline Josefsson, Biology Professor, at Caroline.Josefsson@viu.ca

Check out the project on Instagram