Mosses play an important role in the Vancouver Island ecosystem. Photo supplied

Strathcona Wilderness Institute launches Guide to Mosses and Liverworts of Strathcona Park

Bryology workshop on Saturday, Sept. 28

The Strathcona Wilderness Institute (SWI) will be releasing the first issues of a new illustrated guidebook to the mosses and liverworts of Strathcona Park at its first Bryology Workshop, Saturday, Sept. 28.

The book, Guide to Mosses and Liverworts of Strathcona Park, is the work of the Dan Tucker (University of Alberta) and Dr. Randal Mindell (SWI director), who carried out an intensive survey of the park’s bryophytes this summer. The book includes a list of about 140 mosses, 50 of which are new to the Island, and five are rare and endangered.

Many people think mosses are small and insignificant, but they are an essential component of our hydrology. Mosses not only stabilize land surfaces by breaking rain and erosion impacts, but they also form the basis of early organic soils and are responsible for the capture of nitrogen and essential minerals. Most importantly, they hold back about 20 per cent of the rain that the Pacific coast receives, and help control water flows. These are really, some of the most important organisms that shape our landscapes and flora – yet most people know very little about them. This is an opportunity to become acquainted with the little fellows.

Strathcona Wilderness Institute is hosting a one-day bryology workshop on Saturday, Sept. 28 at the Strathcona Park Wilderness Centre located at the Paradise Meadows trailhead in Strathcona Park . The SPWC is adjacent to the Raven Lodge on Mt. Washington, home of the largest Vancouver Island marmot population. For interested participants, the workshop is complemented with an optional one-day hike into the spectacular old –growth Divers Lake area on Sunday, Sept. 29 (8 a.m. to 6 p.m.).

The workshop consists of basic and advanced presentations on bryophyte ecology, identification and photography by some of Vancouver Island’s best-known bryologists, followed by a short field trip in Paradise Meadows on the 28th and an optional long field trip to Divers Lake on the 29th. Cost of the workshop is (Adults) $30, (Students) $20. Registration can be done on the SWI website: Inquiries: Dr. Loys Maingon

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