Green Teams Canada logo of colourful tree and name of organization

Ruth Johnson Park, White Rock – October 29, 2022

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

Highlights

  • 33 community members of all ages, backgrounds and experience levels joined us and contributed 102.5 hours total
    • Thank you so much for your hard work and for making this day amazing: Doreen, Daniel, Steven, Cheryl, Victoria, Sherry, Emily, Brownie, Amanda, Jessica, Peter, Manny, Valarie, Annika, Jan, Claudia, Gary, Mohamed Javed, Shuko, Michelle, Wendy, Yathharthha, Scott, Adeline, Da Hyun (Wendy), Emma, Ben, Mira, Charlotte, Charmaine, Amos and Stephen!
    • Our Green Team brought together people from White Rock, Surrey, Delta, Burnaby and Richmond!
  • 25 cubic metres of invasive English ivy, English holly and English (Cherry) laurel was removed (equivalent to the volume of 156 bathtubs!), be sure to check out the before and after photos at the bottom of this page!
  • An area of 2,600 metres squared had invasive plants removed from it and was revitalized thanks to the hard work of our Green Team
  • 22 participants visited Ruth Johnson Park for the first time
  • 20 participants removed invasive plants for the first time
  • The TD Friends of the Environment Foundation and City of White Rock made this activity possible through their funding and direction!

On Saturday October 29, 2022 the Lower Mainland Green Team, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation and City of White Rock joined forces to engage community members in removing invasive plants from Ruth Johnson Park in White Rock.

The rain stayed away to make for a perfect overcast fall day for the 33 amazing community members of all ages, backgrounds and experience levels who came together to make an incredible impact on this local habitat. Using incredible teamwork, vines upon vines of invasive English ivy were removed from the forest floor and trees, and English holly and laurel trees, big and small, were uprooted and sawed down to allow for native plants and trees grow and flourish.

English ivy is a common invasive plant found in our forests, gardens and even as house plants! Creating a thick mat on the forest floor, English ivy smothers shrubs, ferns and climbs up trees, adding extra weight and competing with the tree for resources. If left unchecked for too long, ivy can kill mature trees which are important for carbon sequestration, temperature regulation, fresh air and more! English holly and laurel (seen as a common hedge across the Lower Mainland) are invasive trees with dense, evergreen leaves that shade out native plants and young trees in forest settings.

When we remove invasive plants we are helping to increase biodiversity and ecosystem resilience, which strengthens and enables the area to better adapt to the effects of climate change. We were thrilled to find native Trailing blackberry already growing in patches where we previously removed blankets of ivy, proof that our efforts are working! We can all do our part by not buying these plants, removing and replacing them with native vegetation, and educating others.

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 met new people, gained new skills and were able to experience the benefits of being out in nature including reduced levels of stress and anxiety, and improved moody, memory, focus and mental clarity. Not to mention the great physical exercise everyone got while restoring the area! By connecting people to nature, we help instil responsible environmental behaviour that extends beyond our activities.

Jessica unearthed a skate — something that definitely doesn’t belong in our forests!

Homemade vegan brownies, oranges, carrots and dip, juice, veggie chips, trail mix, hot chocolate and more were enjoyed during our break. We offer a large variety of snacks to ensure there is something for everyone, and to show our appreciation for our volunteers!

Annika showing off her Sleepy Lotion from LUSH!

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 /Dirty Toothpaste Tablets from LUSH, Reusable Bamboo Utensil Kits from OLA Bamboo 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 !

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

What Volunteers Said

“I enjoyed fresh air, doing something good, being with other people. Thankyou for organizing and the great choice of snacks!”

– Sherry

“I enjoyed being able to do something productive in nature, in a place that holds special meaning to me and my family, in a team setting. Everyone was so friendly and kind. It was nice to see so many like-minded people all in one place, working together. The fresh air and exercise was awesome!

Ruth Johnson park holds a special place in my heart. I go there almost every week and I see the ivy choking trees. It was wonderful to feel like I was making an impact in this park in particular in regards to these invasive species. I want to see our native species flourish.”

– Michelle

“I think this program has a very important cause and that invasive plant species are often neglected as a lesser problem. This organization is doing great work helping the environment, and I hope to participate in other activities soon!”

– Valarie

“The impact of this activity is removing invasive plants, and that can help native plants here grow and increase the biodiversity of the environment!”

– Annika

“I think it’s really nice to let people know about invasive species and see how they impact the environment around them. It also lets them know what types there are and how much work it is to actually get rid of them once they start living in the area.”

– Jessica

Thank You!

Funding to make this activity possible was provided by the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation (TD FEF). Thank you to Mandip and TD FEF for supporting our work to foster deeper connections to community and nature, leading to improved mental and physical health and more environmentally responsible behaviour!

Thank you to Justin Schneider, Spencer Booth and Jim Gordon at the City of White Rock for partnering with our charity, Green Teams of Canada, to make this activity possible!

Our organization has been working in Ruth Johnson Park with the City of White Rock since 2013. Through this partnership our Green Team has engaged 700+ local youth and community members across 25+ White Rock activities aimed to improve environmental health and empower people to care for nature and their community!

Before and After Photos

(click images to make them bigger)

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