Uncommon plant species represented in the Coastal Douglas Fir zone and the Garry Oak and associated ecosystems are found throughout the park. These ecosystems are rare, and are the subject of broader regional conservation efforts. Henderson Community Park is one of the few parks that make up the 4% protected area of Mayne Island, the lowest in the Islands Trust area. Thus, it is an important venue for hands-on educational experiences regarding preservation of ecosystems that span private lands. The purpose of these educational and interpretive programs is to help residents and visitors appreciate the natural and recreational treasures of Mayne Island, and to increase awareness of the Garry Oak and associated ecosystems and their threats.
The project is guided by the Mayne Island Conservation and Sustainability Plan, thus helping MICS fullfil the overarching goals of preserving ecosystem function and biodiversity. This project is also supported by the community. MICS recently circulated a public survey: Twenty-two out of 29 respondents gave high importance to MICS' role in raising awareness of the island's natural environment and most comments cited education/leadership and conservation.MICS proposes to do the following to fulfill this goal to the end of 2011:
- Offer training workshops for volunteers and the public on best practices for invasive species removal and plant identification.
- Offer training on photo-point monitoring and the development of a citizen scientist driven monitoring program, thereby engaging locals long-term.
- Offer public workshops on identifying rare plant and animal species and protection of their habitat.
- Engage Mayne School and citizen scientists in ongoing restoration and monitoring at Henderson Park.
- Develop, organize, and deliver field trips and interpretive programs for Mayne School and the community.
- Organize regular speakers to offer park "walk & talks" and speak at seminars.
- Events will be advertised widely and will be designed to attract residents and visitors alike.
- Continue our monitoring program in the Park for the red-listed sharp-tailed snake.
- Show-case the Henderson Park Restoration project during the popular Saturday Farmers Markets (June-October).
- Invite decision-makers such as MLAs to tour the restoration activities.
- With the support of the Mayne Island Parks and Recreation Commission, develop interpretive brochures for a numbered nature walk along the trail and at restoration sites.
The purposes of this educational and interpretive program will be to help residents and visitors appreciate the natural and recreational treasures of Mayne Island. It will increase awareness of the Garry Oak and associated ecosystems and threats to their existence. The result will be more informed inhabitants, and visitors that place a high value on conservation.