Green Teams Canada logo of colourful tree and name of organization

Highlights

  • 49 grade 6/7 students from the Fort Langley Elementary School participated and contributed 98 hours total
  • Over 3 cubic metres of invasive Himalayan blackberry was removed (equivalent to the volume of almost 20 bathtubs!), including dozens of stubborn root crowns which require more effort to remove but take up less volume
  • 3 students visited the Fort-to-Fort Trail for the first time
  • 13 students removed invasive plants for the first time
  • The Langley Advance Times came out to take photos and highlight the hard work of these local youth!

On Friday December 10, 2021 the Lower Mainland Green Team partnered up with the Township of Langley to engage local youth in an invasive Himalayan blackberry removal at the Fort-to-Fort Trail.

49 students walked from the Fort Langley Elementary School to the Fort-to-Fort Trail on this brisk and wet December day to rescue native plants being overtaken by blackberry and improve ecosystem health and resilience in the area.

The students got right to it and started thinning out a massive blackberry thicket while being careful of native plants such as salmonberry and snowberry which were trapped underneath the thorny branches. Root crowns of various sizes were removed to inhibit the regrowth of this invasive plant and students also saw how this plant creates dense thickets: by rerooting when it touches the ground, as seen in the photo below.

Himalayan blackberry is a competitive invasive plant that has negative environmental, social and economic impacts. This plant not only reduces the biodiversity in our ecosystems by overtaking native plants and trees, but also is shallow rooted and can contribute to soil erosion and the destabilization of slopes. While Himalayan blackberry isn’t all bad, as some small birds may nest in the brambles and people and critters alike enjoy snacking on the delicious berries of this plant, it has a net negative impact on ecosystems and society.

By learning about environmental issues such as those caused by invasive species in a hands-on way, the students are better equipped to tackle such problems. Additionally, the students were able to experience the benefits of being out in nature including improved mental and physical health and reduced stress levels. By connecting people to nature, especially youth, we help instil responsible environmental behaviour that extends beyond our activities.

This was not our first time or last time at the Fort-to-Fort Trail, read about our past activities on March 25, 2018, April 29, 2018 and October 7, 2021!

We will be returning to continue our work at the Fort-to-Fort Trail with more local students in January 2022. The Langley Environmental Partners Society (LEPS) has also been working hard to remove blackberry in this area and we look forward to continuing our collective work to improve the health and resilience of this ecosystem! Teamwork is essential to tackle environmental problems and we love seeing like-minded organisations such as ours working alongside each other. 

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 students who attended this activity in the rain: Lucy, Cate, Jurri, Naya, Eric, Shine, Jackson, Wally, Emmaus, Hayden, Hudson, Gibson, Matt, Lincoln, Gabe, Samantha, Malachi, Lara, Pricilla, Gabe, Brody, Freddy, Dominic, Finn, Owen, Aurora, Callum, Willow, Henry, Augusta, Elio, Piper, Dustin, Nathan, Max, David, Sianna, Kiran, Jack, Lucas, Fletch, Lexi, Kaia, Abraham, Oliver, Alex, Emma, Bella and Braydon!

A big thank you also to Ms. Nast and Mr. Sangra, the Grade 6/7 teachers at the Fort Langley Elementary School, for your work to bring your students to this outdoor education opportunity!

Many thanks to Tovery, Brennan, Chris and Olivia at the Township of Langley for joining us at this activity, demonstrating leadership and sharing your expertise!

A huge thank you to Bob Scott and Eric Fong at the Township of Langley for partnering with our charity to make this activity possible. Thanks to the Township’s direction and financial support, local youth have been able to connect to nature while making tangible environmental impacts, which improves their own mental and physical health and also instils responsible environmental behaviour. Not to mention the amazing impact they are having on their local environment!

Before and After Photos

(click images to make them bigger)

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