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Reconnecting with the natural world is an educational effort (temporary title) 

                                                   text by Eva Rasciauskas   photos by Leonardo DeGorter 

Cared for by restoration volunteers, this rare Garry oak meadow at Devonian Regional Park is home to species found nowhere else in Canada. Today, only a fraction of the Garry Oak ecosystem remains in southern British Columbia. Land conversion for residential, agricultural, and industrial development reduced the range of this unique ecosystem to small patches spread across the province, mostly on Vancouver Island.

Kristen Miskelly (right) opened Satinflower Nurseries with her husband James Miskelly in 2013. They are trained biologists who have established a unique model for their business, providing public access to the nursery as well as educational workshops about native plants. A newly opened area in Metchosin serves as a seed bank and as a propagation area for the nursery.(above)

Kristen Miskelly (centre) conducts a Meadow Makers session at her nursery in Saanich, near Victoria. Her four-month program teaches locals about native plant restoration, highlighting some Garry oak ecosystem species. Landscapers and seasoned gardeners are a regular presence in her courses.
Garry oaks are British Columbia's only native oak trees. A large one, at Beacon Hill Park in Victoria, spreads its long, gnarled branches around a meadow. (above) Not too far from this area sits a young Garry oak tree soaking in the early evening light near the entrance of the park. (right)

Tsawout Elder Earl Claxton Jr, a respected plant knowledge keeper and historian of the W̱SÁNEĆ people, stands in front of a  greenhouse at PEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW̱ nursery. He restored this greenhouse years ago, and today he uses it to teach plant stewardship skills to a school program.(left) 

Uplands Park, in Oak Bay, protects the remnants of a Garry Oak meadow ecosystem by the ocean. Originally intended for development, this area was turned into a park after the municipality bought the land in 1946. (above)
All photographs © Leonardo DeGorter
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