James Anderson Park, Langley – November 21, 2022
On Monday November 21, 2022 the Lower Mainland Green Team and Township of Langley partnered up to engage local youth in removing invasive Himalayan blackberry from James Anderson Park in Langley.
Before and After Photos
- 37 grade 5 students from Richard Bulpitt Elementary School participated and contributed 55.5 hours total
- Thank you so much to the 22 students in Ms. Burns‘ grade 5 class: Sean, Nora, Soyeong, Makaylah, Anita, Gideon, Kyle, Eloise, Kellan, Hannah, Carol, Tomas, Manmeet, Noah, Zoey, Karlo, Julia, Ryan, Luisa, Ian, Peter and Eddie!
- Thank you so much to the 15 students in Ms. Rattan‘s grade 5 class: Adysen, Joshua, Jaycob, Asher, Shahaan, Yafa, Kira, Allison, Ray, Chloe, Jiff, Ella, Levi, Jiyul and Emma!
- 5 cubic metres of invasive Himalayan blackberry was removed (equivalent to the volume of 31 bathtubs!), including many stubborn roots which require more effort to remove, but take up less volume
- An area of 78 square metres had invasive plants removed from it and was revitalized
- 25 students visited James Anderson Park for the first time
- 24 students removed invasive plants for the first time
- The Township of Langley made this activity possible thanks to their financial support and direction!
Ms. Burns’ Class In Action
Ms. Rattan’s Class In Action
37 grade 5 students from Richard Bulpitt Elementary School geared up with gloves, loppers and shovels to increase biodiversity at James Anderson Park on this lovely November day. Most students had never done anything like this before, but any hesitation to dig in quickly disappeared as the students used teamwork to remove a large amount of prickly invasive Himalayan blackberry from this habitat.
Once they got the hang of removing roots, students such as Anita and Zoey from Ms. Burns’ class started a count. At the end of their class session they proudly removed 50 Himalayan blackberry roots, a super impressive number! Imagining how many we removed all together, surely over 100 roots were dug up over the day. All students had an incredible impact on this local habitat and should be very proud of their hard work!
While Himalayan blackberry produces delicious berries that humans, birds and animals all enjoy, this aggressive invasive plant tends to take over natural areas making it hard for other plants and trees to grow. This includes native plants which produce berries during different times of the year and are an important source of food for wildlife! By focusing on removing roots so the plant doesn’t regrow, these youth are helping to increase biodiversity and ecosystem resilience, which will make this habitat healthier and better able to adapt to the effects of climate change.
Students also got to see how big vines of English ivy can get when they grow up trees, and learned about the negative impacts of this invasive plant commonly 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 within as little as 10 years. In addition to planting new trees, it’s important that we take care of mature trees which currently sequester carbon, regulate temperatures, reduce flooding and erosion, provide fresh air and more!
By learning about environmental issues such as those caused by invasive species in a hands-on way, these youth are better equipped to tackle such problems. Additionally, these students worked as a team, tried something new, gained hands-on skills and were able to experience the benefits of being out in nature including reduced levels of stress and anxiety, and improved mood, memory, focus and mental clarity. Not to mention the great physical exercise everyone got while restoring the area! By creating positive experience for these youth to connect with nature, we help instil responsible environmental behaviour that extends beyond our activities.
A number of items that don’t belong in parks were found and removed including a tennis ball, a pink toy, a hubcap, scrap metal and a jerry can!
Thank you to Tovery Diener and Andrew Hong at the Township of Langley for partnering with our charity, Green Teams of Canada, to make this activity possible. Together we are improving community and environmental health – a win for all!
Many thanks to Olivia and Chris at the Township of Langley for joining us at this activity to help move the piles of removed blackberry brambles and roots and supervise and support the youth!