Green Teams Canada logo of colourful tree and name of organization

The Greater Victoria Green Team spent the day engaging community members and about 90 youth from Dunsmuir Middle School in an area covered with Scotch Broom and Blackberry.

We primarily removed Himalayan Blackberry, with Scotch Broom removed as well. This area is home to a large heritage orchard and close to the beautiful Esquimalt Lagoon. According to a study done for the Esquimalt Lagoon Stewardship Initiative, non-native species in the area amount to 35% of all the vegetation, although it has likely increased since that study had been released. Both Himalayan Blackberry and Scotch Broom replace native species and decrease biodiversity, putting the health of these habitats at risk. Nootka Rose was the most predominant native species in the area.

THANK YOU

Thank-you to everyone for participating: Ms. Johnson’s Gr. 8 class, Ms. Knoke’s Gr. 8 class, Ms. Arsenault’s Gr. 6 class, Mr. May’s Gr. 7 class, all of the awesome parent volunteers, and Tracy!

Thank-you very much to the City of Colwood for partnering with us and contributing to our Green Team activities and for recognizing the importance of collaboration in community engagement and ecological restoration!

Highlights

  • In total 96 youth & community members participated and contributed to 97 volunteer hours!
  • 60 youth were introduced to Pit House Park, while 75 had never removed invasive species before!
  • We removed 28 cubic metres of invasive plants and revitalized about 75 square metres of the park!

Before and After Photos

This activity not only benefitted the environment, but also 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 bringing together people to work towards a common goal
  • Become leaders in their communities
  • Increase confidence, resilience and perseverance

Volunteer Testimonials

“This was the best day of school I’ve had all year!” – Sixth grade student

“It’s good to teach them about invasive species, but also we’re not sitting in a classroom doing it, we’re actually getting out in our own community and taking part. They get to see what they can accomplish through actual hands-on material.” – Mr. May

“The impact is huge! Student could see the difference we made in just an hour. They felt like they accomplished something and helped the local environment. They felt a sense of community that they worked together as a team. It was a great experience and we would love to come again.” – Ms. Arsenault

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