Invasive Species Removal at Ocean View Park in Colwood – March 18, 2023

Invasive Species Removal at Ocean View Park in Colwood – March 18, 2023

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


  • 26 community members of all ages, backgrounds and experience levels joined us and contributed 78 volunteer hours total
    • Thank you so much for your hard work and for making this day amazing: Sabrina, Marci, Liam, Hangyeol, Shu, Ashley, Nano, John, Kazuki, Nasrat, Ian, David, yves, Becca, Tallia, Julie, Gary, Marianne, Dean, Josie, Caitlin, Sarah, Daniela, Bren, Evelyn, and David!
  • 19 cubic metres of invasive species were removed!
    • Species removed: Himalayan Blackberry, English ivy, and English holly!
  • An area of about 100 metres squared had invasive plants removed from it and was revitalized thanks to the hard work of our Green Team!
  • 18 participants visited Ocean view Park for the first time
  • 10 participants removed invasive plants for the first time

Thank you to the CIty of Colwood for partnering with us! Their support made this activity possible, and we appreciate their commitment to empowering the surrounding community in carrying out environmental stewardship!

Thank you as well to Colwood council members Ian, Dean, & David for volunteering with us today!

We removed Invasive Himalayan blackberry and English ivy from crowding out many Grand fir tree seedlings trying to grow in the forest! Thanks to the hard work of all these community members, these trees will have a much better chance to survive and thrive.

Before & After Photos

On Saturday March 18th, 2023, the Greater Victoria Green Team hosted an invasive species removal activity in partnership with the City of Colwood! 26 awesome community members spent the morning removing invasive Himalayan blackberry from Ocean View Park. It was a great opportunity to return to this beautiful, local ecosystem; GVGT has visited Ocean View Park several times last year, so it was great to check in and see how areas we previously worked in have been recovering! We had previously focused on removing the English ivy from this park and now, seeing that most of the ivy has been removed, we focused on the Himalayan blackberry! 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.

The focus of this activity was removing Himalayan blackberry roots. It was growing all over far corner of the park, competing with native trees and shrubs and creating a dense thicket of sharp prickles. This invasive plant restricts the mobility of animals through areas and out-competes many local native plants for resources. While blackberries are delicious, they provide a source of food only for a short growing season. When they are the only species growing in an area, they end up creating food scarcity for many native animals. Because native plants and animals have adapted together to varying local seasonal changes, an ecosystem containing a diverse range of native plants can support a greater diversity of animal life all year round.

This group of volunteers did an amazing job or cutting back the entire patch of invasive blackberry & digging up the root crowns! The root crowns are where the plant stores its energy, so removing them helps reduce the chance of blackberry re-sprouting later. By cutting back the thorny plants and digging out their roots, these dedicated volunteers help create space for the native trees and shrubs to thrive in this area.

This big pile of Himalayan blackberry, English ivy, English holly and other invasive plants is the result of the hard work of our volunteers! Awesome job everyone!

We had such a high energy group of people at this activity that we were able to work on a secondary section of the park that contained invasive English ivy & holly as well as some more Himalayan blackberry. Working in the secondary section of the park, community members got really close to ridding this park of invasive plants! It is amazing to see how much we can get done when we work together!

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 moody, 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 instil responsible environmental behaviour that extends beyond our activities.

This work brings people together in a meaningful way, helping facilitate community connections and friendships. Working together to accomplish a shared goal of environmental restoration is really empowering!

Volunteer Testimonials

“Today I was able to work beside and get to know folks who were, till now, strangers.
In the warmth of a beautiful day, a stunning natural setting, and in the company of such a wonderful group of thoughtful and talented people I was able to share a love of what is good in this world. For me, this is everything.

Thank you so much. I look forward to another day of invasive weed pulling

Beyond the strong community building and hopeful energy so plentiful there remains the clearly beneficial work.
To see the forest beauty appear as we uncovered the prickly invader is incredible while knowing many people will benefit from this work.

I feel this work is some of the most valuable for dollar the City of Colwood could possibly hope for and receive.”


“I have been here six months and this volunteer work became my good experience in Canada! Thank you so much”

– Nano

“It’s a great way to spend a Saturday morning out with other people , in nature. It’s very therapeutic. You’re cleaning out a space and making it beautiful again; you’re talking to other human beings, and it is just an overall great experience where you can come out of it feeling really good and having a sense of community and pride in your work “

– Talia

“Four of us came in on the bus together and five of us went home together. We accomplished a lot. There was a lot of teamwork today.

The impact of this program is: removing invasive plants so native plants can thrive. Building community. Introduction to people from different countries and walks of life.”


“The “Team” did an amazing job today! Great and informative leadership and a great group of volunteers!”


“It’s was a great day to work together with others and also share this experience with my son.”


“I enjoyed getting out in nature on such a nice day and meeting everyone! The instructors were very positive and it was super fun to see the park all cleaned up after just a couple hours.”


Community in Action!

Thank you to Lush 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 Kaitlin at

This activity was organized by the Greater Victoria Green Team‘s Interim Program Manager, Kaitlin Warren.

Kaitlin was hired as part of Green Teams of Canada‘s Youth Leadership Program, and is gaining hands-on experience organizing and leading communities, in addition to helping strengthen and build our organization!

If you have questions about the Greater Victoria Green Team, Kaitlin can be reached at

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