Green Teams Canada logo of colourful tree and name of organization

The Greater Victoria Green Team spent the day engaging 33 community members at Cuthbert Holmes Park in Saanich! We contributed to some incredible restoration work that the Saanich Pulling Together volunteer group has been working on for quite a long time. We introduced many new people to this park and to invasive species removal and spent time learning about and caring for the land.

We primarily removed English Ivy, and a small amount of Daphne and English holly. These invasive species have been crowding out the native plants in this forest, and harming the natural ecosystem in the process. We worked carefully to remove ivy from several trees as well as from the forest floor. It is important to remove ivy from trees as it competes for resources as it grows up the trunk and can kill a tree in as little as ten years. Removing ivy from the ground is just as important. As English ivy grows fast and far reaching, it creates a thick ground cover. This prevents the growth and establishment of other plants that can help contribute to a greater biodiversity in the forest. Having a larger range of plant species in an ecosystem helps maintain a healthy balance and increases the resiliency of the entire system. Some of the native species we saw in the area were trailing blackberry, Oregon Grape, and Sword Fern—these species will now have more space to grow and the forest will be in balance again!

THANK YOU

Thank-you to everyone for participating: Rob, Nuria, Bjorn, Benjamin, Barb P., Marin, Colleen, Peter, Hayley, Josie, Jason, Kiersten, Elizabeth, Rosanna, Mieka, Kaden, Karen, Rhianedd, Tallia, Chloe, Evelynn, Sophia, Mackenzie, Astrid, Marla, Ruhisha, Khoi, Finn, Andre, Barbara D., Jory, and Raiya

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

And a huge THANK YOU to Julian from Saanich Parks’ Pulling It Together program! Julian is the lead steward at Cuthbert Holmes Park. Julian contributed to the educational impact of this activity by taking us all on a tour of the site and explaining the incredible restoration work that has been happening at Cuthbert Holmes. If anyone wants to continue volunteering in this lovely park, or learn more about the restoration work at this site in a more in-depth guided site tour, contact Julian at .

Group Photo of all the incredible community members who came to help restore the park!

Highlights

  • In total 33 community members participated  and contributed to 100 volunteer hours!
  • 21 volunteers were introduced to Cuthbert Holmes Park, while 16 volunteers had never removed invasive species before!
  • We removed 11 cubic metres of invasive plants and revitalized 200 square metres of forest!
  • We saved about 10 trees and many ferns from being smothered by ivy!
  • This activity was featured in the news! CLICK HERE to see Victoria Buzz coverage of our weekend!

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

“I enjoyed how friendly everyone was and how satisfying it was to pull out the ivy. This program makes the world a better place.”

– Marin

“Everyone was really nice. I believe this program contributes to preserve our parks and forests.”

– Núria

“The program gives such a great opportunity to meet new people and enjoy time outdoors!”

– Josie

Action Shots

It takes a whole lot of team work to tackle a forest full of ivy!

This activity was a special event featuring a guest host for the Greater Victoria Green Team! Ashton, the Program Manager from the Lower Mainland Green Team came to join us for this activity and for a weekend of team building and mentorship for Green Teams of Canada!

Thank you to Fatso, Lush, TruEarth, Green Beaver, & Earth Rated for donating in-kind gifts for our hard-working volunteers to take home!

Our hard-working and enthusiastic activity leaders: Amanda (Director of Programs & Partnerships, GTC), Maria (Program Manager, GVGT), Kaitlin (Program Coordinator, GVGT), Julian (Cuthbert Holmes Park Steward), Ashton (Program Manager, LMGT)

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