Invasive Blackberry Removal & Native Shrub Planting at Reg Franklin Park, Maple Ridge – March 25, 2023

Invasive Blackberry Removal & Native Shrub Planting at Reg Franklin Park, Maple Ridge – March 25, 2023

Group photo of the 36 wonderful community members who joined us for this activity!

Highlights From The Day

  • 36 wonderful members of the community joined us and contributed 104.5 hours total! Thank you so much for your incredible work and for making this day stellar: Adil, Amos, Angela and her mom Anna, Casper, Cher, Christine, Colin, Da Hyun (Wendy), Doug, Ebrahim, Evelyn, Francis, Hong, Hue Linh (Emily), James and his son Eric, Katie, Lisa, Nicholas, Polly and her sons Brandon, Devin and Ryan, Ray, Rodolfo and his sons Anthony and Erick, Steven R., Steven C., Stuart, Tarrah, Tom, Trang, Vic, Zachary!

  • All ages, backgrounds, and experience levels were engaged including families, seasoned environmental stewards, and first-timers!
    • 24 people visited Reg Franklin Park for the first time
    • 11 people removed invasive plants for the first time
    • 14 people planted native shrubs for the first time
    • Our youngest volunteers, Erick, Anthony, Brandon, Devin, Ryan, Casper and Eric weren’t afraid to get their hands dirty and had an incredible impact. We love seeing all ages, especially youth, engaged in sustainable action!
    • Ray proudly wore a hat from the Alouette River Management Society and shared his experience at past LMGT activities. Thank you for supporting the work of both of our organizations!
    • Stuart biked to this activity in the rain!
    • Trang and Emily came to Canada from Vietnam this past year and Ebrahim moved from Alberta a couple months ago – welcome to BC and our Green Team, we are excited to have you as part of our community!
    • Tom demonstrated great leadership and helped many people identify and remove stubborn invasive blackberry! He and one of our young volunteers, Brandon, made an excellent team!
    • Our Green Team brought together people from all over the Lower Mainland including Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Langley, Surrey, Richmond, Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam!

  • Rainy weather was no match for our amazing volunteers who:
    • Restored and revitalized an area of 198 metres squared
    • Removed a volume of 7 cubic metres (44 bathtubs full) of invasive Himalayan blackberry
      • Although Himalayan blackberry produces delicious berries humans and animals both enjoy, it’s an aggressive invasive plant that overtakes anything in its path. This limits biodiversity and food sources for animals in seasons when the plant is not fruiting. By removing roots so the plant doesn’t regrow, we are creating space for other plants to grow, which will make the area a better habitat for local wildlife!
    • Planted 49 native shrubs including Salal, Nootka rose, Pacific ninebark to fill in the areas previously covered in invasive blackberry
  • We were super impressed with the positivity, enthusiasm, teamwork, and effort of everyone! Scroll down to see before and after photos, as well as some in-action shots!

  • Our Community Investment Partner, the Alouette River Management Society (ARMS), provided direction and funding received from the EcoAction Community Funding Program to make this activity possible!
    • Thank you to Marissa for coordinating everything on ARMS‘s side and for sharing your expertise and energy with us at this activity!

  • This was the last activity to be led by Megan and Reenaz, our Program Coordinators hired as part of Green Teams of Canada’s Youth Leadership Program. We are sad to see them leave, but are so impressed by their work with us over the past 10 months and excited for what they will continue to accomplish! Scroll down to read some thank you’s and parting thoughts from our amazing Youth Leaders.

Before & After Photos

CLICK HERE to check out the blog from our last activity at this park on October 15, 2022! Work has been done at the park by ARMS since October, but you can see it’s come a long way!

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

Thank you to the Alouette River Management Society (ARMS) for partnering with us and providing direction and funding received from the EcoAction Community Funding Program to make this activity possible.

By partnering up to run activities together, our charities are supporting each other’s growth, learning from each other, bringing more people together and increasing our overall impact on the community!

Green Teams of Canada and ARMS submitted a budget proposal to the City of Maple Ridge to run many more activities like this on a monthly basis in 2023 and beyond. We look forward to hearing back on the decision on this proposal, which will contribute significantly to community health, connection, empowerment and environmental health!

What Volunteers Said

“It was great seeing so many positive people out in the park, helping our community, even those not from Maple Ridge and even in the less than stellar! It was very inspiring and motivational to be around so many nature lovers and people who care to dedicate their time to make a difference for the future! Also home made vegan brownies were amazing!!

Hopefully it gives these younger ones a chance to learn and understand more about community involvement and nature at an early age, which will hopefully make for better nature stewards in the future!”

– Tom

“Today was amazing. Very rewarding when I pulled out the roots of those invasive blackberry plants! Best part was when we planted the native shrubs!”

– Christine

“Thank you so much for organizing such an event and giving us the opportunity to do our part to beautify and protect our environment. Have the opportunity to communicate with more friends. We really enjoyed event every time.”

– Hong

“I enjoyed working with and meeting people from all backgrounds and experiences”

– Ray

Yummy snacks were enjoyed at our break, including homemade vegan brownies!

In-Action Photos

Our Staff

This activity was led by the Lower Mainland Green Team‘s Program Coordinators, Megan Walker (right) and Reenaz Nawar (middle), with support from Program Manager Ashton Kerr (left).

Megan, a first year university student from Coquitlam, and Reenaz, a grade 11 student from Port Moody, have been hired as part of Green Teams of Canada‘s Youth Leadership Program. After spending 10 months with us, this was their last activity!

Megan shares: “Thank you all so much for coming out to this activity, it was incredible seeing so many people join us despite the weather! I have learned so much over the past year and it has been incredible getting to know everyone. From the start, the Lower Mainland Green Team community has been so welcoming and supportive. This has truly been a  once-in-a-lifetime experience thanks to each and every one of you. I’m looking forward to seeing you again as a volunteer!”

Reenaz shares: “Getting to know all of you has meant a lot to me and the learnings from this role are things I will take with me to all my future endeavours. I cannot explain how lucky I feel to be given this opportunity to prove myself as a leader, and to see for myself that young people like me are given the space to have their opinions heard on how an organisation is run. Thank you so much for a wonderful 10 months”


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