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Newton Pond Park Stewardship Series - October

Oh, October. The month of crisp, dewy mornings and a whooole lot of rain! While these seasonal shifts can be felt throughout the city, their effects truly shine at Newton Pond Park. Damp soils allow for community tree planting events, while cooler temperatures trigger a dazzling array of deciduous leaves. As more leaves are shed from trees, they fall down to the forest floor where fruiting mushrooms pop up for the enjoyment of our community science walks.

With all that in mind, let’s explore Newton Pond Park for the month of October!

Plenty of Plants

A community that plants together, grows together!

SNAP worked alongside the City of Surrey to help host a remarkable ReLeaf tree planting event in Newton Pond Park. Families of all different backgrounds joined us to learn more about the park’s ecosystem, how to plant native trees and shrubs, and the different kinds of animals that rely on trees for natural habitat. The SNAP outreach team was met with openness and enthusiasm, where both kids and adults were ready to put their nature knowledge to the test. Whether it was through our tantalizing trivia wheel, “Match That Call” bird identification game, or simply a thoughtful conversation, volunteers had loads of fun learning about their local living landscape.

Come one, come all, and test your knowledge on the trivia wheel!

Some common Newton Pond “residents” featured in our bird identification game, including the Downy Woodpecker, American Robin, and Black-capped Chickadee.

By the end of the day, Newton Pond Park had 535 new native trees and shrubs join the family. This includes species like Nootka Rose, Thimbleberry, Red Alder, and Douglas-fir. Many volunteers even took home Thimbleberry seedlings to grow in their own urban spaces!

In addition to native trees and shrubs, 5 shade trees were planted along with 35 tulip bulbs in their tree wells. Haymen Red, or “red rage”, trees are popular due to their brilliant scarlet-orange foliage during the autumn season. We can’t wait to see the colourful show they put on next year!

The many native trees and shrubs planted by the end of the day. A job well done!

Not Just a Nature Tour

The beauty and wonder of the form of a mushroom! (Pending official identification from iNaturalist.)

On a brisk autumn Thursday, SNAP joined Pamela Zevit, the City of Surrey’s Biodiversity Conservation Planner, for an eye-opening community science walk – featuring iNaturalist!

iNaturalist is a database that records biodiversity across the globe. Anybody can use the app by taking a picture of a species and uploading it to the platform. From there, the app tags when and where the picture was taken, while other users confirm species observations. Eventually, this newfound information can be used for scientific research! Pretty wild, right? This process is known as “community science”, since it revolves around.. well, communities contributing to science!

Curious to know how iNaturalist contributes to conservation efforts in Surrey? Pamela explains how important this information is for her work.

“As a biologist, having up to date, credible information on where plants and animals occur is essential to my work implementing the City’s Biodiversity Conservation Strategy. The strategy uses “indicator species” to help inform various planning and management approaches. The information contributed to iNaturalist by the community has become an invaluable asset to helping the City identify where these various indicator species occur.”

A behemoth Fly Agaric mushroom in its fruiting stage. Careful not to touch or taste this one – it’s toxic to humans!

Throughout October, SNAP worked hard to identify species of all shapes and sizes, from Fly Agaric mushrooms (pictured above), to Red-winged Blackbirds. We have uploaded tons of valuable observations to iNaturalist, and we are excited that our contributions will have a direct impact on Surrey’s Biodiversity Conservation Strategy.


Be sure to check in next month for even more interesting Newton Pond Park updates. We’ll be focusing on how the park deals with water retention during the rainy fall season!

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