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On Sunday September 26, 2021 the Lower Mainland Green Team celebrated BC and World Rivers Day with the City of Burnaby at Ron McLean Park! This activity was the second of two activities being run this weekend at this location.

Read about the activity that happened the day before.

Despite a forecast of 100% rain, community members of all ages came prepared to tackle invasive English ivy and Himalayan blackberry and were met with only 15 minutes of rain and temperatures not too hot or cold. However rain gear was welcomed as everyone soon learned how easy it is to get carried away and covered in mud! In joining this activity, participants were able to connect to nature and each other, which has benefits for our health and the health of the environment. By building on the hard work of participants who attended our activity at this site the day before, it was evident that together we can make a difference towards anything we set our minds to. 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.

Highlights

  • 28 community members participated and contributed 87.5 hours total
  • About 9.5 cubic metres of invasive Himalayan blackberry and English ivy was removed (equivalent to the volume of almost 60 bathtubs!)
  • 9 volunteers visited Ron McLean Park for the first time
  • 14 volunteers removed invasive plant species for the first time

A variety of items were removed from this park that didn’t belong, including 40 tennis balls from the tennis court beside the trail, a hunk of metal from an unknown source, an old fence wire and beer bottles/cans

Rivers Day

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!

Thank you to all of the hard-working, eager community members who attended this activity: Alan, Doug, Gary, Rodrigue, Thomas, Suzie, Yvonne, Blair, Amber, Glenda, Grace, Joe, Jaime, Esten, Sol, Mathew, Ella, Danny, Adam, Benjamin, Andi, Neal, Karis, Alexandra, Jaime, Joan, Rob and Yumi!

Thank you also to Benjamin who helped take down our tent!

Many thanks to Teresa Friedel and Mark Sloat at the City of Burnaby for partnering with us, and an extra big thank you to the Rotary Club of Burnaby for providing the financial support to make this activity possible! Thank you for supporting our valuable work!

What Volunteers Said

I enjoyed being part of team, helping to improve the trail I use regularly, and protecting the native trees from invasive species. I feel the impact of this program is giving people the chance to make a positive environmental change in their community. Thanks Ashton, for all your efforts to make this program a success!” – Blair

“Well organized fun day with great people! I think this program is great at getting people out in nature and interacting with other people while giving back to the community. A win-win-win situation. Ashton is so good at her job and it just wouldn’t have been the same without her!” – Glenda

I felt welcomed and getting involved in this team as we just moved here from Shanghai 4 month ago. It’s the best experience I’ve ever had of volunteering. I feel the impact of this program is building up the sense of belonging and knowledge of local ecosystems. Thank you Ashton! – Amber

Great snacks! Ashton was so friendly.” – Jaime

I enjoyed learning about how to identify ivy and blackberry. And learning the methods to remove them.” – Kenneth

Ashton did an excellent job. She was very thorough, covering all the important aspects of the event. She answered all questions from volunteers. She checked on how everyone was doing. Everyone was enthusiastic about what we were achieving. It was good to actually see the difference 3 hours of work made. A worthwhile effort, and good for children to experience” – Alan

I feel the impact of this program is community education through meaningful conservation work. – Thomas

Action Shots

Before and After Photos

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