Green Teams Canada logo of colourful tree and name of organization

Invasive Blackberry & Ivy Removal at Ruth Johnson Park, White Rock – June 25, 2023

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

Highlights From The Day

  • 51 wonderful members of the community joined us and contributed 164 hours total!
    • Thank you so much for your hard work and enthusiasm: Adrian, Aiwen (Nicole), Alexis, Ruobing (Amber), Amos, Avery, Bowen, Brownie, Caryn, Charles, Chen (Jack), Miaotong (Cherry), Cheryl, Daniel, Daoran (Rock), Duyen, Ellen, Emily, Fuyuan (Gary), Haley, Ivy, Jason, Jessica, Jia (Clarissa), Jiayi (Christina), Jiwon, Joan, Karena, Keon, Lakshmikanth, Lemiao (David), Md Salman, Ming (Jack), Norah, Paul, Ray, Roberta, Roshan, Runyi, Sesame, Shuyang (Jennie), Steven, Tammy, Tim, Vesna, Xiangyu (Kevin), Yoyo, Yukai (Samuel), Yuki, Zimu (Matt) and Zuoyou (Max)!
    • Many thanks to Amos and Vesna who arrived early and stayed late to help with set up and take down!

  • Together our team:
    • Removed a volume of 17 cubic metres (106 bathtubs full) of invasive Himalayan blackberry, English ivy and English holly, including many stubborn blackberry roots!
      • Blackberry roots require more effort to remove and don’t take up much volume, but removing them significantly reduces the chances of plant regrowth
      • Although Himalayan blackberry produces delicious berries humans and wildlife both enjoy, it’s an aggressive invasive plant that overtakes anything in its path. This limits biodiversity, habitat and food sources for wildlife in seasons when the plant is not fruiting. 
      • 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. It can kill a mature tree in as little as 10 years!
      • English holly is an invasive tree with dense, evergreen leaves that shade out native plants and young trees in forest settings
      • By removing these invasive plants we are creating space for more plants to increase biodiversity, which in turn will help make this urban forest more resilient, functional and beautiful!
    • Removed invasive plants from an area of 147 metres squared
  • Scroll down to see before and after photos, as well as some in-action shots!

  • All ages, backgrounds, and experience levels were engaged including families, returning Green Team volunteers, and first-timers!
    • 37 people visited Ruth Johnson Park for the first time
    • 35 people removed invasive plants for the first time
    • This was Sesame‘s 8th activity in a row with us! He has not missed an activity since April 22, 2023 and has biked and taken transit from Richmond to all activities, including this one!
    • A number of local students from Semiahmoo Secondary School and Earl Marriott Secondary School joined us, including Tim, Roshan and Bowen who are doing their CAS (creativity, activity, service) project for their IB program with us by helping with outreach and assisting with leading at our upcoming White Rock activities!
    • 19 members from the Vancouver International Volunteer Association joined us for this day, thank you Xiangyu (Kevin) and Joan for your coordination and leadership!
    • One of our awesome returning volunteers, Steven, introduced his wife, Roberta, and friend, Md Salman, to our work at this activity!
    • Our Green Team brought together people from all over the Lower Mainland including White Rock, Surrey, Langley, Port Moody, Coquitlam, Burnaby, Richmond and Vancouver!

  • We’ve been working in Ruth Johnson Park since 2013, but this was our first visit to this area of the park that boasts beautiful ocean views!

  • Thank you to the following businesses for donating items to thank our amazing volunteers:
    • LUSH for providing Sleepy Lotion and Dirty/Sparkle Toothpaste Tablets
    • Tru Earth for providing Laundry Detergent Strips
    • Life UNpacked for providing bamboo toothbrushes

  • Our Community Investment Partner, the City of White Rock, provided direction and funding to make this activity possible!

Before & After Photos

Why Do We Do This Work?

The Lower Mainland Green Team organizes hands-on educational activities that have a positive environmental impact to empower people. Through activities such as invasive plant removals, plantings, litter cleanups and more, we are fostering connections with others and nature so that health and well-being is prioritized, lifelong environmental stewardship is promoted, and community members are enabled to take care of themselves, each other and the places they live. We all have the power to make a difference!

We all experience mental and physical health benefits from spending time in nature, including reduced stress and anxiety, and improved mood, focus, memory and more. While doing so, we can also have a positive impact on the environment as demonstrated through this activity!

Partner For This Activity

A big THANK YOU to the City of White Rock for making this activity possible with their financial support and direction!

Our charity, Green Teams of Canada, has been working with the City of White Rock for over 10 years! Together we are achieving our common goals and creating connected, healthy and resilient communities engaged in environmental stewardship.

We are excited to be running 6 activities in 2023 with the City of White Rock to restore habitats and connect people to community and nature. Join us for our next White Rock activity on July 15th at West Beach!

The beautiful ocean views we enjoyed at this activity!

What Volunteers Said

“I enjoyed working with a very nice group of people on a good cause, while spending time in a beautiful park/forest. I feel the impact of this program is bringing back the healthy, natural balance in this beautiful forest, and building a community of people who want to make a difference, providing them the education, tools and organizing them to do their volunteering work. I was very pleased with organisation of this event, which helped to have a very successful event.”

– Vesna

In-Action Photos

Our Staff

This activity was led by the Lower Mainland Green Team‘s Program Manager Ashton Kerr (left) and Green Teams of Canada‘s founder and Executive Director, Lyda Salatian (middle), who also founded our Lower Mainland Green Team in 2011!

Green Teams of Canada‘s Board Chair, Jessica Daniel (right), also joined this activity!

THANK YOU!

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