ENVR107 – Lab 9 – Mt Tolmie Fieldtrip

Thursday, March 18th 2010, ENVR107 students from Camosun College conducted a fieldtrip to the local park, Mt Tolmie (Lat: N48° 27’’ 23’ Long: W123° 19’’ 34’) in Victoria, BC. The aim of the fieldtrip was to get familiar with Ecosystem Field Form and accompanying field books (Handbooks 25 (White) & 28 (Red)).

The sites were not selected randomly, but rather at a convenience dispersal method. Since it was cool and fairly windy, a leeward side was chosen as a base at a couple of picnics tables. The groups of about three-four students dispersed in any direction all fairly close to this base. The site our group chose was 15m due NNW of the “Smus Class” picnic table.

Victoria is located in a rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains and the leeward side of Mt Tolmie is even dryer due to it being the leeward side. So we do not expect much rain in this terrain. The zone was determined from BEC system to be CDF (Coastal Douglas Fir) and subzone mm (moist maritime).

Our site did not contain a high selection of plant species, but general clues could still be drawn from those who were actually there. We found Camis (60%), Grasses (15%) and snowberry (5%). Luckily, Gerry Oak and snowberry are indicator species that aided the classification.

From the field Guide – ‘Red Book’ we found CDFmm in Grid No: 1. In this table we found Gerry Oak to be present in Site Series 02 & 03, Snowberry in 01,02 & 03. Without a full soil assessment, we cannot conclude with any higher certainty but as indicated in the diagram to the left, the oval represents our best guestimate with available data.

To support our initial finding, the relative soil moisture regime was keyed out using Appendix 5 in the ‘Red Book’ to be 2-3. Common snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus) is a nutrient indicator species that with preference live in site series 3 and Garry Oak (Quercus garryana) a moisture indicator species in site series 2, as per appendix 1a.

Limitations to this classification exercise are evidently the lack of a soil pit. Since Mt Tolmie is a park, it is clearly not allowed to start digging there. For some people, it might be hard to identify even the common species of trees and shrubs; it would have been nice with some basic plant knowledge before the trip.

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