Summerland’s sixth annual Earth Week takes place from April 19 to 26, with a wide variety of events.
On April 22, Earth Day by the Water features a number of events at Peach Orchard Park including a historic and riparian walk along our waterfront.
Join local historian David Gregory and biologist Rick McKelvey on a three-kilometre walk along Summerland’s beautiful waterfront.
Gregory will provide the history of “early Lowertown Summerland” while McKelvey will talk about our restored areas of riparian waterfront and its benefits to plant and animal diversity in our fragile Okanagan ecosystem.
Lowertown is one of Summerland’s least recognized neighbourhoods. Few visitors or residents understand its riparian and historic importance.
When Summerland was founded in 1902, Lowertown was the centre of the community when there were no roads.
Okanagan Lake with its sternwheelers was the highway that joined the early Okanagan communities and transported our early exports to international markets. Lower Town’s main street was known as Shaughnessy Avenue, now Lakeshore Drive.
This street included a drug store, banks, a meat market, restaurants, the Summerland Hotel, Okanagan’s first municipal electrical plant, barbershops, a blacksmith, a Chinese laundry and even the Summerland Review.
Our waterfront had many riparian or wetland areas which were important to the health of the lake; filtering water, reducing levels of sediment, reducing peak flows and maintaining water quality and erosion reduction.
As well, they provide important habitats for birds, beavers, muskrats, frogs and a diversity of other wildlife. As development increased in Summerland, many of these riparian areas were lost.
A range of human disturbances such as removing vegetation, dredging, filling, and channelization of the creeks changed this fragile habitat.
Two local areas, the riparian area by Summerland Waterfront Resort and Kin Park have been restored as viable wetland habitats. Come learn more about this historic and ecological area.
As well as the walk, special displays by the Trout Hatchery and the Agur Lake Society will describe the importance of water and the fish it supports.
During our hot summers, when our water supply relies only on the water stored in our dams, water conservation becomes critical.
Guess the date when Thirsk Dam stops spilling and you can win a local hanging flower basket. True Grain Bread is providing coffee and cookies.
Also the Waterfront Resort will offer a presentation of the Resort’s use of geothermal energy.
These free events are held at Peach Orchard Park on Lakeshore Drive on April 22 from 1 to 4 p.m. Register for the walk by calling 250-494-0728.
For more information on Earth Week events visit facebook.com/Summerland Earth Week.
Margaret Holler is one of the organizers of Earth Week in Summerland.