Tour group members listen to Michael Wolfe during an interpretive stop on the World Environment Day eco-tour of the Garden City Lands, June 5, 2008. Jim Wright photo.

Michael Wolfe crouches to discuss low-lying cloudberries on a tour when the vegetation was high.

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The eco-tour described below went well. Current eco-tours are described on another page. (Click here.)

The next eco-tour is the Terra Nova Slough eco-tour that is part of the 2014 Annual Gathering on the evening of Wednesday, June 18. Please see the informative invitation for the details.

The most recent free tour of the Garden City Lands, Richmond's central park, celebrated International Biodiversity Day on Sunday, May 25, 2014. We will leave this description here until the next one.

This will be a fairly short tour of about 1.5 kilometres or less.The tour will take about 90 minutes for those who stay until the end.

Tour guide Michael Wolfe will focus on the state of the sphagnum mosses, the keystone species of the sphagnum bog ecosystem. As always, however, the group will become familiar with many native and invasive species, and the discussion at frequent stops will depend a lot on the participants' questions.

With this firsthand experience of the ecology of the park, you will get a better sense of how to act locally for the health of Planet Earth and for community wellness.

In view of the City of Richmond's idea that it can "create the Garden City Lands," it is especially important that we retain our respectful gratitude for the legacy that nature has given us. The tour will help all participants to be more sensitive to what the Garden City Lands are telling us, as opposed to just trying to impose whims on Nature.

Starting Point: The tour will depart from the East Entrance to the park. It is on No. 4 Road about 200 metres south of Alderbridge Way.There is a small "Save" sign at the driveway through a space in the fence.. You'll need to watch closely for it, and it is useful to have looked at the map first.

Parking: One can park on Alexandra Road (to the west of No. 4 Road) about 350 metres north of the Lands or probably in the East Entrance driveway (being sure not to obstruct the route of other vehicles). You can refer to this map (click here) or to the PARC map that appears lower on this page.

Your tour Michael Wolfe, Coordinator of Tours, Garden City Conservation Societyguide:
Michael Wolfe, Vice President of  the Garden City Conservation Society Society, is a conservation biologist and a teacher with Richmond School District. He has served (filling in for a year during a parental leave) as the district's Teacher Consultant for Environmental Sustainability and Science Education. Michael is the foremost expert on the way nature formed and cares for the Garden City Lands. He has explored the lands all his life but still finds something new on every tour.

What to wear and bring:

  • Basic: Boots or other durable footwear with tough soles. Long durable pants.
  • Optional: Suitable headwear and sunscreen are useful. Consider water, energy snack, and sunglasses.

Weather: It's useful to check the Richmond weather (click here) as the tour day approaches, but our tours are "rain or shine." (The one exception would be a thunderstorm.) Weather conditions are one fun aspect of the different experience on each tour. In this case, reasonably light rains is possible. If you're dressed for it, it will be no problem at all. (In seven years of Garden City Lands tours, participants have always taken the weather in stride.)

How else to prepare: One could read about Community Wellness (below) or the PARC concept (below that).

Community Wellness

One of the highest-impact ways to improve living places is with public green spaces that are good for community wellness. That term refers to the positive physical, mental and social health of the people of an area. In Richmond, the area that appears to have the most citizens in need of greater community wellness is the City Centre Area. It includes the public green space with the greatest potential to meet the need ˘w the Garden City Lands, the city's central park.

Community wellness has always been a key part of the goal of the coalition of citizens who fought successfully to save the Lands from development. Their goal remains: To help steward the natural legacy of Richmondˇ¦s Agricultural Land Reserve area called the Garden City Lands for agricultural, ecological and open-land park uses for community wellness.

It can be useful to think about the best way to design the ALR uses and infrastructure of the central park to serve the neediest as part of the community of park users. That will actually help all users, but not at the expense of the neediest. Since there is supposed to be public consultation by Richmond parks staff soon, participants could plan what they wish to bring to the public consultation.

PARC˘wParkland for Agriculture, Recreation, and Conservation

The PARC graphic of the lands (below) is based on what nature tells us with the lands' differing soils, elevation, and ecology, among other realities. It illustrates a way of thinking, which involves paying attention to what the lands are telling us in the context of the best available expertise, the community thinking expressed in the extensive public consultation, and their status as Richmond parkland in the ALR. On tours, Michael has often referred to the PARC graphic and the surroundings to show how different parts of the lands lend themselves best to particular uses that complement each other. He will probably include that approach again.

PARC map of the Garden City Lands

To a significant extent, the PARC graphic is based on Michael's observations and interpretation of the Lands. In preparation for the tour (or to partially replace the tour if you can't come), you will find it very helpful to read "Listening to the Lands = PARC (click here)" on the Richmond's Garden City Lands blog.

Nature as Michael's co-guide: Nature cultivated Lulu Island first. Michael Wolfe often points out native species that nature has nurtured on the Garden City Lands for centuries and even millennia. When humans arrived, many of those species provided them with food, warmth, and healing. We can cooperate with nature to restore the natural balance that will enable those species to thrive again. At the same time, we can help the area to regain its vigour as one of the green "lungs of the city." And much more.

Reminder: The Garden City Lands Coalition is a community of people who want to steward the Garden City lands in the Agricultural Land Reserve for agricultural, ecological and open-land park uses for community wellness. We cooperate toward that goal as a public service for the citizens of Richmond, as well as the region, the province, and the world.

Read more: Please read more about this on the Garden City Lands blog.

Other questions: Email with "Next GCL tour" in the subject line

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