Invasive Species Removal at Patricia Bay Park, North Saanich – November 26, 2022
- 13 community members of all ages, backgrounds and experience levels joined us, including 5 students from North Saanich and Saanich schools.
- 39 volunteer hours in total were contributed to the conservation efforts of this park!
- Thank you so much for your hard work and for making this day amazing: Maddy, Erika, Kaden, Josie, Yuki, Chloe, Elizabeth, Kiersten, Chinmanus, Siyun, Vashirasak, and Peter!
- 3.5 cubic metres of invasive species were removed!
- Species removed included Himalayan Blackberry!
- An area of 100 metres squared had invasive plants removed from it and was revitalized thanks to the hard work of our Green Team
- 9 participants visited Patricia Bay Park for the first time
- 1 participant removed invasive plants for the first time
Thank you to the District of North Saanich for partnering with us! Their support made this activity possible, and we appreciate their commitment to empowering the local community in carrying out environmental stewardship!
Before & After Photos
On Saturday November 26, 2022, the Greater Victoria Green Team hosted an invasive species removal activity in partnership with The District of North Saanich! 13 awesome community members spent the morning removing invasive Himalayan Blackberry from the beautiful Patricia Bay park. It was a great opportunity to continue working on revitalizing this beautiful, local ecosystem; this is GVGT’s second visit to this park and it’s been very exciting to see the changes here since we have been clearing space for native species to return! It was also very inspiring to see people from all backgrounds, ages, abilities, and experience levels come together to contribute to the improvement of their community and feel a sense of belonging.
Patricia Bay Park is located right on the water front of the western side of the Saanich Peninsula. It contains steep banks which have become over crowded by invasive Himalayan blackberry. This plant grows rapidly and aggressively with thick stems and sharp thorns. It grows up and over other plants and re-roots, choking out neighboring plants. When this happens, the area becomes a monoculture of blackberry. Though blackberries can provide a supply of food for some animals when they are in season, ultimately this crop is less sustainable long term as it prevents the growth of other plants which can produce food sources at different times of year, maintaining a healthy ecosystem balance. When we remove the invasive Himalayan blackberry, we create space and opportunity for native species to return. This is especially important as we move into the winter season where food is less abundant for many local creatures. It is additionally important that we move towards more sustainable and resilient ecosystems in facing the uncertainties of climate change and unprecedented extreme weather events.
In removing blackberry, it is essential that the root crown is pulled out of the earth. This cuts off the plant’s energy stores and prevents it from re-sprouting. When the blackberry dies off, a variety of native plants fill in the space that has been opened up. We help create and support resilient ecosystems by ensuring a wide variety of plants and animals are contributing to an ecosystem. This is known as high biodiversity. Multiple different species, that can provide different benefits and thrive in different conditions, ensure that the whole system is not reliant upon the success of just one resource, but rather have an abundance of options.
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 mood, 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 instill responsible environmental behaviour that extends beyond our activities.
Thank you to Lush, Fatso, Tru Earth, EarthRated, and Elate Cosmetics for donating eco-gifts for our hard-working community members to take home!
Our community members took home a thank you gift from one of our in-kind supporters! 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 Maria or Kaitlin at or
Community in Action!
Community Member Input
“Provides a fun and meaningful volunteer opportunity that gives everyone a chance to enjoy the outdoors” -Kiersten
“Connecting with the ecosystems that surround us and encouraging local flora to grow in its natural habitat.
Meeting new people that share a common interest of being outside and promoting native plants to reclaim space in their environment” – Maddy
This activity was organized by the Greater Victoria Green Team‘s Program Coordinator, Kaitlin Warren.
Kaitlin was hired as part of Green Teams of Canada‘s Youth Leadership Program, and are gaining hands-on experience organizing and leading communities, in addition to helping strengthen and build our organization!