Green Teams Canada logo of colourful tree and name of organization

Highlights

  • 18 community members participated and contributed 59 hours total
  • 17 participants visited Reg Franklin Park for the first time
  • 14 participants removed invasive plant species for the first time
  • Over 10.5 cubic metres of invasive Himalayan blackberry was removed (equivalent to the volume of about 67 bathtubs!)
  • Students from 3 school districts joined us at this activity (Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows, Coquitlam, Langley)
  • We were featured in the Maple Ridge News for this activity! Read the article published prior to the activity HERE.
  • We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful fall day!
  • Yummy refreshments were had by all during our break, and a game of basketball ensued in the school yard beside the park when a basketball was found!

Action Shots

Summary

On Saturday October 30, 2021 the Lower Mainland Green Team joined forces with the Alouette River Management Society (ARMS) to remove invasive Himalayan blackberry from Reg Franklin Park in Maple Ridge.

This wasn’t our first time at Reg Franklin Park with ARMS, with past activities taking place on October 7, 2020 and March 5, 2021. We are excited to continue our efforts to free this park from invasive blackberry to increase the biodiversity and resilience of this ecosystem!

We couldn’t have asked for a better day for this activity, which was originally set to run on Saturday October 16th but was postponed due to heavy rainfall. With sun shining and golden leaves falling, community members welcomed the brisk air as we got to work to remove a massive thicket of invasive blackberry that had taken over the east side of the park and was starting to smother some trees.

This blackberry patch not only inhibits the use of this area by people and wildlife (with the exception of some small birds which can nest in the thickets), but reduces visibility in the park. It is our goal to remove this blackberry and replace it with native fruit-bearing shrubs to create a better space for all.

This activity not only had a positive impact on the environment, but on the participants themselves. By being out in nature doing something positive as a team, our community members:

  • Develop a sense of belonging to community and place
  • Have improved mental and physical health
  • Connect to nature, which leads to environmentally responsible behaviour
  • Learn about local environmental issues and actions they can take
  • Learn the value of bring together people to work towards a common goal
  • Become leaders in their communities
  • Increase confidence, resilience and perseverance

We had originally intended to plant native shrubs at this activity following the removal of the blackberry, but to ensure that our efforts are not wasted we chose to hold off until more blackberry is removed so it does not overtake the native shrubs. Instead, participants were given the choice to take home one of the shrubs to plant in their own yard or could still plant one at Reg Franklin Park if they did not have access to yard. Thank you to the BC Wildlife Federation for donating these native shrubs!

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.

Thank You!

Thank you to all of the hard-working and enthusiastic community members who attended this activity: Thanh, Noah, Ethan, Terry, Krittapas, Nethmi, Cathy, Amasha, William, Matthew, Hailey, Andrew, Michelle, Leilani, Ivan, Angela, Alexis and Philopateer!

A HUGE thank you to Greta and Alex from the Alouette River Management Society (ARMS) for partnering with our charity, Green Teams of Canada, to make this activity possible. Thanks to funding provided by the Stewart Family Foundation, our two charities teamed up to achieve our collective goals, and are a force to be reckoned with in doing so!

What Volunteers Said

“Teaching the community and younger generations about conservation and specifically that individuals can do things to make a difference is really important. A lot of the time people don’t do anything because they think there’s no point or the efforts need to come from big companies/lawmakers. It’s both eye-opening, rewarding and empowering to be able to physically do something to help.” – Alexis

Before and After Photos

(click images to make them bigger)

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