Green Teams Canada logo of colourful tree and name of organization

Central Park, Burnaby – September 24, 2022

Group photo of the awesome community members who joined us for this activity!

Highlights

  • 25 community members of all ages, backgrounds and experience levels joined us and contributed 81.5 hours total
    • Thank you so much for your hard work and making this day amazing: Amit, Lesslie, Naghmeh, Alexander, Art, Hira, Dhruva, Margaret, Chloe, Chris H., Kerry, Chung Yin, Helen, Connor, Ellen, Brian, Asako, Wang Lap, Mohamed, Sau Ping, Issa, Marcella, Chris T., Shuta and Cheryl!
    • Our Green Team brought together people from Burnaby, Vancouver, North Vancouver, Richmond, Surrey and New West!
  • 9 cubic metres of invasive Himalayan blackberry and Common periwinkle was removed (equivalent to the volume of about 56 bathtubs), including LOTS of stubborn blackberry roots which take more time to remove, but take up less volume. Be sure to check out the before and after photos at the bottom of the page!
  • 18 pounds (over 8 kilograms) of litter was removed
  • An area of 328 metres squared had invasive plants removed from it and was revitalized thanks to the hard work of our Green Team
  • 13 participants visited Central Park for the first time
  • 11 participants removed invasive plants for the first time
  • This activity ran in celebration of BC and World Rivers Day and built on previous restoration work done in the area by local stewardship groups, the City of Burnaby and our Green Team (read about our June 11, 2022 activity at this location)

On Saturday September 24, 2022 the Lower Mainland Green Team, the Rotary Club of Burnaby and the City of Burnaby joined forces to engage community members in an invasive plant removal at Central Park in Burnaby. This activity took place in celebration of World Rivers Day with the City of Burnaby!

25 amazing community members of all ages, backgrounds, abilities and experience levels spent this sunny Saturday morning restoring habitat along the edge of Central Park to improve the health and resiliency of this urban forest. While doing so, they met lots of new people with similar interests and were able to experience a sense of community and belonging! A majority of those who participated were joining our Green Team for the very first time, and they were immediately welcomed by our returning community members.

While connecting deeper with nature and the community, everyone was able to experience mental and physical health benefits including reduced stress and anxiety, and improved mood, focus and memory. By providing experiences for people to be in nature safely together, we are helping participants cultivate a curiosity and deeper respect for nature, which helps instil responsible environmental behaviour that extends beyond our activities! It is empowering seeing how much a committed group of people can accomplish when they work together, and serves as a reminder that we can accomplish anything we put our minds to!

Lesslie cleaned up LOTS of litter from this site!

Between Lesslie and everyone else, the following was removed from this park: A pair of shorts, two shoes (that were not a pair), a duffel bag, a clothes hanger, a broom head, a side mirror from a car, bottles, cans, food containers, wrappers, and LOTS of tennis balls!

The broom head that was uncovered had blackberry growing on it!

Amir also found blackberry roots attached to tennis balls!

Our community members took home a thank you gift from one of our in-kind supporters including Replaceable Head Bamboo Toothbrushes from life UNpacked, Laundry Detergent Strips from Tru Earth, Coconut Lip Balm from Green Beaver, Biodegradable Dog Poop Bags from EarthRated, Sleepy Lotion and Sparkle Toothpaste Tablets from LUSH, and Tealight Candles from Honey Candles! If you have any suggestions for sustainable/eco-friendly rewards, know of or own a business who would like to provide in-kind to our Green Team, please contact Ashton Kerr, Program Manager, at !

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 and other Burnaby Waterways & Streamkeeper Groups! These groups need your help and are very rewarding to be a part of!

This activity was led by the Lower Mainland Green Team‘s Program Manager, Ashton Kerr, and Program Coordinator, Reenaz Nawar. Reenaz has been hired as part of Green Teams of Canada‘s Youth Leadership Program and are gaining hands-on experience organizing and leading communities, and also helping strengthen and build our organization!

What Volunteers Said

“Extremely well organized! Everyone was friendly and it was a lot of fun! Good forest cleanup of invasive blackberry. I think the neighbours in the area really appreciated it.”

– Margaret

“This program really makes a difference to our environment. Every small step counts!

– Sau Ping

“It was well organized and the leaders were excellent. I feel this program is making people aware of the importance of maintaining the environment. The whole exercise was very well done.

– Christopher

Thank You!

Thank you to the Rotary Club of Burnaby for the financial support to make this activity possible!

A big thank you to Rushi Gadoya and Mark Sloat at the City of Burnaby for partnering with our charity, Green Teams of Canada, and providing the direction to make this activity possible!

This activity was part of the City of Burnaby’s World Rivers Day celebrations. We were thrilled to be part of this weekend that focuses on celebrating and learning about our local waterways and what we can do to help protect these important environments!

Before and After Photos

(click images to make them bigger)

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