YOUTH ACTIVITY! – Invasive Species Removal at UVic Mystic Vale – March 9, 2023
- 133 community members of all ages, backgrounds and experience levels joined us and contributed 158 volunteer hours total
- Thank you so much for your hard work and for making this day amazing: Isaac, Savannah, Brooke, Vardeep, Abbi, Abbey, Emma, Aiden, Chris, Aidan, Owen, Krysta, Ashley, Jessica, Reanna, Bren, Sarah, Amy, Maddy, Tyler, Chloe, Aidan, Bobby, Evan, Olivia, Maddison, Bella, Simon, Jill, Paris, Sharon, Mahra, Mira, Philip, Ali, Noah, Emmy, Kylie, Lili, Gabriela, Jackson, Maxton, Sascha, Cam, Kansas, Erik, Hannah, Ben, Linnea, Oliver, Cicely, Elizabeth, Jessica, Darko, Sarah, Alex, Ethan, Leeza, Alex, Talia, Jamesa, Madison, Ben, Deanie, Jackson, Aidan, Sara, Bram, Lukas, Mali, Madelaine, Joseph, Jake, Catharine, Chloe, Rowan, Katia, Chloë, Ms. Hodgins’ Grade 1 class, and Mr. Newell’s Grade 11 class!
- Thank you to Layanna, Miss. Earth Canada 2023, for joining our morning session and inspiring and supporting the students to engage with nature in meaningful ways!
- 14 cubic metres of invasive species were removed!
- Species removed included English Ivy and a bit of Himalayan Blackberry!
- An area of 437 metres squared had invasive plants removed from it and was revitalized thanks to the hard work of our Green Team
- Volunteers also filled 1 garbage bag, weighing 3 pounds with litter they removed from the forest!
- 34 participants visited Mystic Vale for the first time
- 64 participants removed invasive plants for the first time!
- 60 participants were UVic students! 40 participants were from Campus View Elementary and 9 were from Mount Douglas Secondary School!
Thank you to the UVic Office of Campus Planning & Sustainability for partnering with us! Their support made this activity possible, and we appreciate their commitment to empowering UVic students and the surrounding community in carrying out environmental stewardship!
Before & After Photos
On Thursday, March 9, 2023, the Greater Victoria Green Team hosted an invasive species removal activity in partnership with University of Victoria Campus Planning & Sustainability! This activity focused on engaging youth; we were joined by over 70 students from a UVic Biogeography class, along with 40 Grade 1 students from Campus View Elementary and 9 Grade 11 students from Mount Douglas Secondary. All of the students worked hard throughout the day to remove invasive English ivy from UVic’s Mystic Vale and learned a lot about how invasive species influence our local ecosystems. They also got to feel the benefits of spending time outside being active—we heard from many UVic students that pulling ivy was great stress relief from midterm season!
The main invasive plant threatening the area of Mystic Vale that we tackled was English Ivy. It was growing all over the ground and beginning to grow up some tall trees as well. Ivy can kill a tree within ten years if left unchecked; it grows quickly and competes with the tree for resources, leaving it weakened and susceptible to being blown down. Removing ivy from the ground and from trees is really important to maintaining ecosystem health! Ivy can also grow on top of low plants (like sword ferns or small shrubs) and block their access to light.
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, participants met new people, gained new skills, and got to experience the satisfaction of working together as a team to make a positive difference on campus. By connecting people to nature, we help instil responsible environmental behaviour that extends beyond our activities.
“This is awesome! I’m a very busy student and I just find it really hard to get outside and get exercise, so having something like this built in [to our class] is really, really awesome. And I also always find that community happens faster when you’re working hard, you hear lot of good conversations and people are just having a really good time that you wouldn’t normally get in class.”– Oliver
“We have been examining invasive species in general and how just one species can really impact the landscape. Doing hands on learning by being outside and getting students out of the classroom is a really profound and excellent way of learning; it’s how I learned a lot of stuff that I know, and so I just want to pass that on. Getting students out here and actually seeing, in a real environment, what’s going on, is the best way to learn.”– Jill Krezoski, UVic instructor
“This is the most fun I’ve ever had at university!-Aiden
Community in Action!
This activity was organized by the Greater Victoria Green Team‘s interim Program Manager, Kaitlin Warren and Program Coordinator, Maria Varem. Special Thank You to the Lower Mainland Green Team‘s Program Manager, Ashton Kerr, for helping lead the activity!
Maria and Kaitlin have both been 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!