Invasive Blackberry Removal & Native Shrub Planting at Reg Franklin Park, Maple Ridge – October 7, 2023

Invasive Blackberry Removal & Native Shrub Planting at Reg Franklin Park, Maple Ridge – October 7, 2023

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

Highlights From The Day

  • 30 amazing community members of diverse ages, backgrounds and experience levels joined us and contributed 94 hours total!
    • Thank you so much for your hard work and enthusiasm: Ali, Amanda, Angela, Ann, Anwar, Brandon, Cedrik, Daniela, Dennis, Ev, Gary, Hailey, Hong, Jacqueline, Jan, Katie, Laura, Liyuan, Madison, Moruf, Mylo, Nicholas, Oliver, Rachel, Ray, Roman, Ryo, Sam, Tarrah and Yanan!
      • Madison, Hailey and Roman shared with us that they have cystic fibrosis and due to a new medication were able to participate in taking care of their local green space!
      • Anwar recently moved to Canada from Saudi Arabia and shared the joy that volunteering and giving back to the community brings him!
      • Thank you to Nicholas, Jan and Gary for for showing up early to help set up!
      • Thank you to Anwar, Tarrah, Laura and everyone who helped us get packed up, many hands make for light work!
    • Our Green Team brought together people from all over the Lower Mainland including Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Langley, Surrey, Delta, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam, Burnaby, Richmond, Vancouver and West Vancouver!
    • 21 people visited Reg Franklin Park for the first time
    • 15 people removed invasive plants for the first time
    • 15 people planted for the first time

  • Together our team:
    • Removed a volume of 5.5 cubic metres (34 bathtubs full) of invasive Himalayan blackberry, including many stubborn roots which require more effort to remove, but take up less volume
      • Congratulations to the winners of our competitions:
        • Largest root removed: Mylo and Oliver/Amanda
        • Longest root removed: Brandon/Daniela and Madison/Hailey/Roman!
    • Revitalized an area of 161 metres squared
    • Planted 25 native shrubs
      • Including Sword Fern, Snowberry, Pacific Ninebark, Thimbleberry and Salmonberry
  • 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!

Before & After Photos

Photo of the pile of invasive blackberry brambles and roots we removed!

Habitat Restoration Progress at Reg Franklin Park

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.

The Lower Mainland Green Team and Alouette River Management Society have been working at this park for a few years now and have seen a big difference thanks to our restoration work. Many areas that were previously overtaken with invasive blackberry now have native shrubs and trees establishing!

Photos of what the area we worked in for this activity has looked like in the past

Read the summaries of past activities the Lower Mainland Green Team and Alouette River Management Society have run at this location together by clicking the following dates: March 25, 2023, October 15, 2022, October 30, 2021, March 5, 2021 and October 7, 2020.

We look forward to continuing to build on the hard work of everyone at this activity in 2024!

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 huge THANK YOU to our partner, the Alouette River Management Society (ARMS), for providing direction and funding received from the EcoAction Community Funding Program to make this activity possible!

Together ARMS and our charity, Green Teams of Canada, have submitted a budget proposal to the City of Maple Ridge asking them to provide funding to our two local charities so we can continue to offer these valuable activities that empower and connect people while having an environmental impact on a more frequent and long-term basis. We look forward to working together with ARMS and the City of Maple Ridge in this unique three way partnership that demonstrates commitment to community connection, empowerment and environmental stewardship; a partnership that is a win for all! 

CLICK HERE to learn more about ARMS and how to get involved with this amazing local charity!

What Volunteers Said

“I found what I had been missing since I came to Canada, which was volunteering and community service. I felt great happiness and unlimited positive energy. I thank the staff. They were very friendly and welcomed us from the first second. I felt like I was part of the team. This is my first volunteer work in Canada and it exceeded my expectations.”

– Anwar

“Thanks very much for this well organized and fun event! You are an amazing team and wonderful leaders! We appreciate all the time spent before, during, and after the event to ensure its success. We also appreciate the educational sessions and opportunity to help the environment and give back to our community. The healthy snack options were very much appreciated!

I love that this was an all ages and all abilities opportunity. It provided a great opportunity to work alongside a diverse group of people to benefit the environment.”

– Jacqueline

“I really enjoyed being outside and in nature. It was great being able to give back in a way to the community and help native plants grow. This program positively impacts the environment by removing invasive species and cleaning up litter. It provides a way for community members to give back and engages and educates people about our ecosystem. Great event overall, I thought it was very well run. Keep up the good work!”

– Dennis

“Thanks to the hosts for helping us find opportunities to contribute to improving the environment and protecting the environment”

– Hong

“Andrea did a fabulous job leading her very first event. We really enjoyed removing the Himalayan blackberries so the babies that we planted earlier can thrive.”

– Gary

“We’re so grateful for this opportunity! We’ve had a great time here, really enjoying the morning and getting a lot done today which is really exciting. And the volunteers are great, everybody is great, especially the people setting everything up. Thanks for organizing!”

– Madison, Hailey and Roman

In-Action Photos

Katie has been frequently coming back to this park to water our planted shrubs and free them of invasive plants. Her hard work has been essential to the survival of so many native shrubs this summer!

After a day of working together, new friends were made!

Marissa from the Alouette River Management Society giving a planting demonstration!

Andrea giving her first instruction and safety talk to volunteers!

In-Kind Supporters

Thank you to the following businesses for donating items to thank our amazing volunteers:

  • LUSH for providing Karma Kream Lotion and Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner
  • Carina Organics for providing natural body wash, which was given to winners of our biggest/longest blackberry root competition
  • Kicking Horse Coffee for providing ground coffee, which was given to winners of our biggest/longest blackberry root competition
  • Blume for providing superfood lattes, which was given to winners of our biggest/longest blackberry root competition

Our Staff

This activity was led by the Lower Mainland Green Team‘s Program Coordinator, Andrea Robles (second from right). Andrea has been with us for almost a month now and this was the FIRST activity she led!

Marissa (left), Watershed Projects Manager from the Alouette River Management Society, joined and shared her expertise with everyone!

Our Program Manager, Ashton Kerr (right) and Green Teams of Canada‘s founder and Executive Director, Lyda Salatian (second from left), also joined and assisted for training purposes.


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