On Saturday September 25, 2021 the Lower Mainland Green Team celebrated BC and World Rivers Day weekend with the City of Burnaby at Ron McLean Park! This activity was the first of two activities being run this weekend at this location.
The efforts of our Green Team were met with a beautiful day as community members of all ages geared up to remove invasive English ivy and Himalayan blackberry from a trail near the Byrne Creek Tennis Courts. Not only were participants improving the health of this local ecosystem, but also their own mental and physical health by being out in nature and connecting with others. The impact of one person can sometimes feel small, but when we work together towards a common goal it is clear that we can achieve a lot. We had a huge impact at this local park thanks to the enthusiasm and hard-work of everyone who attended! Our efforts at this location are intended to build on those of the awesome local Byrne Creek Streamkeepers!
This activity followed the COVID-19 Safety Plan of our charity, Green Teams of Canada, and current province-wide restrictions with safety measures in place to ensure participants could connect with each other and nature safely.
- 28 community members participated and contributed 81.5 hours total
- Almost 10 cubic metres of invasive Himalayan blackberry and English ivy was removed (equivalent to the volume of about 61 bathtubs!)
- 15 volunteers visited Ron McLean Park for the first time
- 14 volunteers removed invasive plant species for the first time
- We uncovered dozens of lost tennis balls from the tennis court beside the trail
- Volunteers took home a gift from one of our in-kind sponsors who generously donated their products to our community including: EarthRated dog poop bags, tea lights and matches from Honey Candles, West Coast Seeds, Swedish dishcloths from Swedethings, laundry strips from Tru Earth, Crush and Brush Toothpaste Tablets from Nelson Naturals and lip balm from Green Beaver!
The very first BC Rivers Day was celebrated in 1980 and has been an annual celebration of our waterways on the 4th Sunday of September ever since. Started by Burnaby local and internationally renowned river conservationist, Mark Angelo, this celebration hit the international stage as World Rivers Day in 2005.
Our waterways and freshwater ecosystems are extremely important, yet are among the most at risk ecosystems on the planet. Threatened by urbanization, pollution, industrial development, invasive species, damming, excessive water extraction and climate change, now more than ever we need to raise awareness about the importance of our waterways and take action to protect them.
Rivers have been a part of all of our lives in one way or another, whether it be through recreation such as kayaking, canoeing or rafting, or a source of food and water. It is up to each and every one of us to do our part to support our rivers and there are many ways you can do so:
- Learn about your local river, the wildlife and plants that live in or around it, its history and how it benefits your community. The first step to taking care of our rivers is understanding why we need to take care of them!
- Don’t litter and clean up items that do not belong in our waterways or parks, even if you weren’t the one who left it.
- Reduce pollution and unwanted substances from entering our waterways or going down stormwater drains, which ultimately lead to our rivers. This includes chemicals and soaps such as those used to wash your car or toilet. Opt for products that are natural whenever possible!
- Avoid the spread of aquatic invasive species by cleaning, draining and drying all boats and equipment.
- Join a local stewardship or streamkeeper group like us, the Byrne Creek Streamkeepers (who steward the Byrne Creek and Ron McLean Park area we were at for this activity) or other Burnaby Waterways & Streamkeeper Groups! These groups need your help and are very rewarding to be a part of!
Thank you to all of the hard-working, eager community members who attended this activity: Jeffrey, Eric, Kenneth, Rodrigue, Alexis, Susan, Felix, Kamisha, Joshua, Katie, Waverly, Aaron, Thiago, Angel, Laura, Carly, Laleh, Lauren, Jen, Clara, Maeve, Rowan, Nathalie, Ryan, Susan, Russ, David and Jasmin
Thank you also to Carly and Lauren who helped set up refreshments and rewards for everyone!
Many thanks to Teresa Friedel and Mark Sloat at the City of Burnaby for partnering with us to make this activity possible. We have built an amazing relationship with the City over many years and look forward to continuing our work together! Thank you for supporting our valuable work!
What Volunteers Said
“I learned a lot and had fun while doing a good deed. Cleaning up the local environment is super important and it felt great doing it. There’s a lot that needs to be done too!!“ – Aaron
“We had locals stop or come over to ask what we were doing and to say how nice it was to see the work done so clearly the impact is good. Considering how much area was cleared, we did make a decently sized impact as well!“ – Alexis
“I enjoyed helping help volunteers who volunteered to remove invasive species in my Byrne Creek.“ – David
“I enjoyed being outside at the Ron McLean park and meeting new people while contributing to restoration of the environment.“ – Jeffrey