Oak Harbor Garry Oak Society (OHGOS) meetings are postponed until further notice. However, we wanted to take a minute to share about OHGOS volunteers who made a difference in a big way locally at three separate events.

In mid-February there was a work party in Smith Park. Volunteers weeded and mulched landscape islands around oaks in the Park. In continuation of our native wildflower restoration project, volunteers planted 132 Shooting Star plugs along the eastern edge of the park bordering Midway Blvd. (These small pink wildflowers will likely take time to mature and bloom, so look for them starting in the spring of 2021.) Oak Harbor Parks has implemented their deferred mowing policy in order to give wildflowers, historically found in Smith Park, a chance to bloom and set seed before the park is mowed. We will monitor the Park this spring to see what “volunteer” native flowers mount a comeback.

Shooting star blooms in Oak Harbor's Smith Park - A Garry Oak Arboretum

Shooting Star, Dodecatheon hendersonnii, blooms in Oak Harbor’s Smith Park

Volunteer work party at the Oak Harbor Native Plant Garden

Volunteer work party at the Oak Harbor Native Plant Garden

Planting shooting stars in Smith Park

Planting shooting stars in Smith Park

Students planting Garry oaks at Oak Harbor Intermediate School

Students planting Garry oaks at Oak Harbor Intermediate School

Shooting star blooms in Oak Harbor's Smith Park - A Garry Oak Arboretum

OHHS Key Club and OHGOS Planting Garry Oaks at Oak Harbor Intermediate School

This month, volunteers gathered at the campus of Oak Harbor Intermediate School (OHIS). This campus was previously without any Garry oaks, and the idea sprang from the Oak Harbor High School (OHHS) Key Club members. Key Club president, (OHHS) student Junior Zach Badaouie, and ten students from the OHIS Builders Club, as well as OHGOS volunteers, planted eight Garry oak seedlings and provided mulch and protective cages for them. Way to go, students!

This month we also held a work party at the Post Office Native Plant Garden. Volunteers weeded and mulched around the native plants. All the plants there continue to thrive, including the two Garry oaks on site near the Grand Old oak stump. If you haven’t seen them already, new interpretive signs were installed in the garden last July. Many early blooming plants are putting out leaves. Truly a riot of color and scent, get ready for peak bloom to occur this April-June!

We don’t know how long the COVID-19 pandemic will impact us. What can you do in the meantime? Stay home unless necessary, wash your hands, keep a social distance of at least 6’, and identify Garry Oak trees that need maintenance care in or near your neighborhood! You can sign up to help care for young Garry oaks, we need your help.  Please contact Duncan Chalfant, OHGOS Tree Maintenance Coordinator at chalfantkd@gmail.com if you are interested in adopting Garry oak tree seedlings!