Rare Rosella Parrot Takes Flight at Bloedel

Clyde is an Eastern Rosella parrot! After living in a cage for over 12 years, Clyde stretched his wings this morning at the Bloedel Conservatory and took his first unimpeded flight in over a decade!

Clyde just before release: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcZsz9k3G-s

Clyde Free at Last! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAr0Tabf6r4

Vancouver Sun Video: Rare Eastern Rosella Parrot Flies Free: http://bit.ly/hx57ba

About 12 years ago, Clyde flew into the open doors of a fire station managing to escape gangs of crows that would have taken his life had he stayed in the wild. After an extensive search for his owners, one of the firemen adopted Clyde and gave him a loving home. Due to unforeseen circumstances, Clyde was recently given to the Greyhaven Exotic Bird Sanctuary in need of new living arrangements. Greyhaven felt the Conservatory was a perfect match for this lovely fellow and it is! Clyde flew free this morning to a chorus of cheers from Park Board staff, Friends of the Bloedel and the media. Come out to see this spectacular exotic parrot and welcome him to his new home!

Eastern Rosella’s are native to southeast Australia and Tasmania and have been introduced to New Zealand. They average about 30 cm (11 inches) in length. It is difficult for these parrots to imitate human speech, but they are excellent at whistling. Clyde will be in very good company at Bloedel as he will join over 100 other diverse free-flying birds who have found refuge in this wondrous garden jewel.

The Greyhaven Bird Sanctuary is the only SPCA certified bird rescue organization in BC. They provide sanctuary, rehabilitation and consultations with their avian vet when health care issues arise for the birds in their care. Every year, hundreds of pet birds are bred in captivity in British Columbia and end up being surrendered for adoption. The average bird in B.C. will go through 7 homes in it’s lifetime. You can help Greyhaven by checking out their website and/or by voting for their shelter in the Animal Rescue Site Holiday Challenge to help them win a much needed $1,000 grant. Greyhaven is a fully volunteer-based organization and have rescued over 1,000 birds since opening in 1998.

Be sure to come by and meet Clyde, this beautiful Rosella, at the Conservatory!

‘Of Birds and Botany’ Moves On to Semifinals!


The Bloedel Conservatory ‘Of Birds and Botany’ project is going directly through to the Semifinals in the Aviva Community Fund Competition!

Thank You for voting!!

The Aviva Competition was created to help make a positive impact in Canadian communities – by providing education, youth programs, and helping the environment. If we’re successful in the Semifinal and Final Round, the VBGA will work with teachers, the Friends of the Bloedel Association, members and other community partners to design programs for kids and families in areas of ecology, conservation, botany and birds.

Specifically, if we secure funding for “Of Birds and Botany“, it will help to:

• Design and conduct field trip programs for elementary school students

• Offer free educational programming to students at selected inner-city schools in Vancouver

• Make terrariums with students for display at their school

• Design and conduct family programs on weekends

• Design and conduct a diversity of workshops for teachers and the general public.

All exciting and great ways to experience our tropical oasis at the top of QE park! Keep your voting fingers ready for December 2nd! We will need everyone’s help again to push through to the Final Round and win $25,000!

6 Features of a Healing Garden

Dealing with Stress

Many of us consider daily stress just a typical part of life. But did you know that 75% of all doctor visits are stress related? Stress weakens the immune system and lowers its ability function properly. Medical research is seeing a direct link between stress and serious issues such as heart disease, high blood pressure, migraine headaches, peptic ulcers, chronic fatigue, depression, anxiety attacks, and chronic pain to name a few.

According to Smith, Jaffe–Gill, and Segal (2009), in Understanding StressThe body doesn’t distinguish between physical and psychological threats. When you’re stressed over a busy schedule, an argument with a friend, a traffic jam, or a mountain of bills, your body reacts just as strongly as if you were facing a life-or-death situation. If you have a lot of responsibilities and worries, your emergency stress response may be “on” most of the time. Long-term exposure to stress can lead to serious health problems. Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in your body.

Nature Nurturing Health

Thankfully, there is good news. A growing body of research is showing the importance and benefits of nature and green spaces on health – specifically in this very important area of stress reduction. Being active in a garden promotes both physical and mental well-being, but you don’t need to get your hands dirty to reap the benefits of time spent in a garden! “Passive recreation” is just as beneficial. Roger Ulrich, a professor and director of the Center for Health Systems and Design at Texas A & M University, has stated, the term “healing garden” refers to actual features that consistently help us recover from stress and have other positive influences on the body.

Immediate benefits associated with shifting to a calm state are decreases in blood pressure and the lowering of stress hormone levels in the body. These are things that impact our moods and foster a sense of tranquility, serenity and peacefulness. Ulrich found that viewing natural scenes or elements fosters stress recovery by evoking positive feelings, reducing negative emotions, effectively holding attention / interest, and blocking or reducing stressful thoughts. They have a regenerative and energizing effect on the body. According to Eckerling (1996), a healing garden makes people feel safe, less stressed, more comfortable and even invigorated.

Engaging the Senses

A healing garden will engage the senses and the Bloedel Conservatory does just that. The most obvious of these is using our sense of sight, but smell, touch, taste and auditory input can all be present. When you first walk into any garden, stop for a moment, shut your eyes and just listen. What do you hear? Wind rustling the leaves, birds singing, or perhaps running water? Take a deep breath. This in itself will help tension fade away and is why practices like yoga, tai chi and meditation focus on breath awareness. As you start to walk through the Conservatory, don’t be afraid to touch the leaves and bark on trees. What does it feel like? Smooth, rough, textured? Maybe there is a flower nearby to smell? Be present in the moment and let any tension start to unwind.

When we asked Dr. Aimée Taylor, Vancouver Horticultural Therapist, if the Bloedel Conservatory qualified as a healing garden, she responded that evidence based research has shown that we gain positive effects on our emotional, mental, physical, spiritual, and social well being from being exposed to nature or horticultural activities. “A healing garden should be accessible to all, have beneficial effects on people using the garden, and provide a place of retreat and respite from daily life. Yes, Bloedel can be considered a healing garden!”

So, What are 6 Features of a Healing Garden?

1. Flowers

In a study at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Dr. Haviland-Jones has found that nature provides us with a simple way to improve emotional health – this would be flowers of course! “The presence of flowers triggers happy emotions, heightens feelings of life satisfaction and affects social behaviour in a positive manner far beyond what is normally believed.” They found that flowers have an immediate impact on happiness and a long-term positive effect on moods.

2. Lush vegetation

Ulrich has found that viewing vegetation as opposed to urban scenes, changes our brain waves from beta waves (13 to 60 pulses/sec.) to a slower alpha wave (7 to 13 pulses/sec) that are associated with being “wakefully relaxed”. Being in “beta” is considered the norm for most people while in their everyday waking state. We emit beta waves when we are consciously alert, or when we feel agitated, tense or afraid. Alpha waves, however, are associated with states of mental and physical relaxation, and our brains drop into “alpha” during the first levels of meditation. Creativity, inspiration and intuition are often heightened by being in an “alpha state”.

3. Spatial openness

One of the first things you notice when you enter the Conservatory is the feeling of space. This in itself is relaxing. Its domed design is based on the geodesic principle that utilizes a structural space-frame to support the roof. This enables the large interior volume to be free of internal supporting columns. The added benefit of Bloedel is that it is an Indoor Nature Facility that can be enjoyed all year, rain or shine!

4. Calm or slowing moving water

The sound of gently moving water has an inherent calming effect on our systems and we feel a natural affinity to it. It adds dimension and harmony to our surroundings. “The sound of running water, apparently, is a genetic memory that sends off resonances deep within our limbic brain stem which also controls such basic actions as our breathing and hunger” (James Kilkelly).  The sound of moving water is very relaxing and it has been found to enhance concentration. Interestingly, running water in Feng Shui is felt to strengthen good fortune.

5. Large trees

Have you ever felt refreshed after walking through a forest? This is called ‘forest bathing’ and physiological tests in Japan confirm positive therapeutic effects of this activity on stress hormones, brain wave activity, pulse and blood pressure. Studies in Tokyo have shown increased immune function after 2 hour walks in the forest. There is no shortage of large trees at Bloedel. In fact, a number of these were the first to be planted in the dome in 1969 and now reach over 60 feet in height. The Benjamin and India Figs, the Dragon trees, and Brazilian Jelly Palm are just a few of the stunning trees you will see and walk among.

6. Unthreatening wildlife

With over 100 free-flying birds and the antics of exotic parrots and macaws (not to mention the colourful Japanese Koi lazily swimming in the pond), one of them will surely bring a smile to your face! Wildlife distracts us from stress and negative thoughts about issues in our lives, even if only temporarily. It is impossible to think of two things simultaneously! Find a quiet spot at the conservatory and sit for a few minutes. Notice what’s around you. Take a deep breath. You won’t wait long before you start to notice the free flying birds busy with their day: building a nest, looking for food, chasing each other around the vast space. The secretive and exotic Touraco may even make an appearance and capture your interest!

Visiting the Bloedel Conservatory will give you a boost regardless of the weather outside. Bring a book, a sketchpad, your camera, or simply come and sit on a bench. It will soothe your senses and re-energize your day!



Smith, Jaffe–Gill, and Segal (2009), Understanding Stress: Signs, Symptoms, Causes, and Effects. http://helpguide.org/mental/stress_signs.htm

Haviland-Jones, Jeanette (2005). Emotional Impact of Flowers Study. Rutgers: Flowers Improve Emotional Health http://www.aboutflowers.com/health-benefits-a-research/emotional-impact-of-flowers-study.html

University of Minnesota, Sustainable Urban Land Information Series (2006). Healing Gardens. http://www.sustland.umn.edu/design/healinggardens.html

Brain Waves http://www.doctorhugo.org/brainwaves/brainwaves.html

Kilkelly, James (2006), Water Works … the Benefits of Water Features. Irishgardeners.com http://www.gardenplansireland.com/forum/about729.html

Japan for Sustainability. (2010) Physiological Tests Confirm Therapeutic Effects of ‘Forest Bathing’. http://www.japanfs.org/en/pages/025839.html

Q and Morimoto, et al. (2007). Forest bathing enhances human natural killer activity and expression of anti-cancer proteins. Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. Apr-Jun;20(2 Suppl 2):3-8. Department of Hygiene and Public Health, Nippon Medical School, Tokyo. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17903349

URGENT: We Need Your Votes!

Thanks to Gillian Drake, Director of Education at the VanDusen Botanical Garden, we have entered a community-supported competition for funding called AVIVA that will allow us to start educational programs at the Bloedel Conservatory. The VanDusen Botanical Garden Association (VBGA), was enlisted to establish an education program at Bloedel for school children and lifelong learners of all ages. Support from Aviva will allow the VBGA to initiate these education programs and offer it at free or reduced cost to those in greatest need.

Gillian has stated, “with funding from Aviva, the VBGA will work with teachers, the Friends of the Bloedel Association, members and other community partners to: • Design and conduct field trip programs for elementary school students • Offer free educational programming to students at selected inner-city schools in Vancouver • Make terrariums with students for display at their school • Design and conduct family programs on weekends • Design and conduct a diversity of workshops for teachers and the general public”. All exciting and great ways to experience our tropical oasis at the top of QE park!

After a very quick and simple registration process, you will be allocated 10 votes on the Aviva website – and you can use them all for Bloedel if you wish! One vote can be cast per day per individual. Voting ends next Friday, October 15, so please vote for us everyday! Spread this message and help us win up to $25,000 in funding!

Click on this link to get started: http://www.avivacommunityfund.org/ideas/acf6547

For future reference our item number is #6547 called Of Birds and Botany. Remember to bookmark the page in your browser for easy access!

Thank you for your support!!