- 33 community members participated and contributed 103 hours total
- Over 14 cubic metres of invasive Himalayan blackberry was removed (equivalent to the volume of about 91 bathtubs!). The before and after photos are incredible, make sure to scroll down to see them!
- 32 participants visited Rochester Park for the first time
- 17 participants removed invasive plants for the first time
On Sunday April 3, 2022 the Lower Mainland Green Team and the City of Coquitlam partnered up to engage community members in an invasive Himalayan blackberry and English ivy removal at Rochester Park in Coquitlam.
Despite a rainy forecast, 33 committed community members of all ages, backgrounds and experience levels came out to restore this natural area and were enthusiastic even when the rain started coming down. We were blown away at how much was accomplished in a short period of time, which goes to show the strength of working together to get things done! The whole area was cleared and prepped for the City of Coquitlam to come and plant native species in the coming weeks.
Some massive English ivy roots (yes, English ivy!) were dug up near two trees that have evidently been battling with ivy for a while now. English ivy is a common house and garden plant, but creates havoc on ecosystems by smothering native vegetation on the ground and climbing up trees, leading to tree loss if not removed. If you have this plant in your garden, consider replacing it with a native plant suitable for your soil and sunlight conditions! Check out these resources from the Habitat Acquisition Trust to help.
This activity took place in an archaeologically significant area of the kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem First Nation) traditional and unceded territory. Our Green Team worked with the First Nation to go through a Cultural Heritage Awareness and Archaeology Chance Find presentation leading up to this activity to ensure that we were prepared in case we found anything. Removing invasive species is one way we can contribute towards reconciliation, and meaningful engagement with First Nations is critical! We strongly encourage any stewardship groups to connect with your local First Nation.
By learning about environmental issues such as those caused by invasive species in a hands-on way, communities are better equipped to tackle such problems. Additionally, our community members 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, we help instil responsible environmental behaviour that extends beyond our activities!
This activity followed the COVID-19 Safety Plan of our charity, Green Teams of Canada, with safety measures in place to ensure participants could connect with each other and nature safely.
Thank you to all of the enthusiastic and hard-working community members who attended this activity: Stewart, Megan, Nano, Brian, Sona, Sahand, Simrin, Kirsten, Jenna, Josie, Alexis, Daniel , Ming, Suzie, Kyle, Tony, Shonna, Sadie, Evelyn, Chloe, Michelle, Yvonne, Katherine, Angela, Miles, Rachel, Blair, Doug, Tracy, Aaron, Angel, Sarah and Alexander! So many of you stayed behind to help clean up after the activity, which was SO appreciated!
A big thank you to Erin Gorby, Julie Kanya and Marianne Fernandez at the City of Coquitlam for partnering with our charity to make this activity possible. Thanks to the City’s direction and financial support, we are empowering communities to take care of each other and the environment – a win for all!
What Volunteers Said…
“It was a very open and welcoming atmosphere! The group was awesome and everything was well-organized. It was fun to learn more about native and invasive species in our area – and also meet new people who are interested in the same! I felt very appreciated as a volunteer because of the insanely awesome snack/drink selection and gifts at the end! I loved seeing the pictures the next day too.
I feel like it’s easy nowadays to get caught up in climate doom. At least I used to feel that way. But getting out and accomplishing a task with fellow community members is the recipe for feeling empowered and hopeful for the future! I left feeling more connected with nature and with my local community, and I think that’s a great impact of this program. I love that it’s building environmental stewardship. I’ll definitely be out again to volunteer!“— Simrin
“Everyone was so friendly and cheerful. I got to meet many new people, share some good stories, make new friends. Ashton provided lots of great snacks, drinks and even made hot chocolate for our break. And she was always helpful and very positive throughout the whole event. It’s fun to work with her.
The program makes us more aware of our environment. It makes us see the parks in our own neighbourhood, and to understand how sensitive it is to invasive plants species. I feel like I’ve contributed to making our community better. And even though I spent only a few hours in a small area of the park, it still gives me a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. I would love to go back again to explore Rochester Park some more and to see this area planted with native species.“— Suzie
“I was surprised how social everyone was! Team work makes the dream work. I feel the impact of this program is is huge! I have a garden but am always looking for opportunities to serve my community and earth initiatives. Ashton, you were delightful. We will see you again!”— Shonna
“I loved getting outside in nature and it made me feel good about myself that I was doing something for the betterment of the environment. Can’t wait for the next activity!“— Kirsten
“I loved the sense of community and the great feeling afterwards when we saw how much we had completed. Even though we had a bit of rain no one stopped having fun! I feel more connected to the environment and I feel more of an obligation to take care of it.”— Megan