Invasive Species Removal at UVic Mystic Vale – December 4, 2022

Invasive Species Removal at UVic Mystic Vale – December 4, 2022

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


  • 39 community members of all ages, backgrounds and experience levels joined us and contributed 122 volunteer hours total
    • Thank you so much for your hard work and for making this day amazing: Ciara, Calvin, Sarah, Jake, Caitlin, Jack, Willow, Violet, Rukmn, Rowan, Ngoc, Mao, Camilo, Aidan, Selena, Denise, Travis, Houtian, Hong, Blythe, Jalen, Cici, Aireanna, Abigail, Colin, Rosanna, Mieka, Kai, Catriona, Marc, Isaac, Cézanne, Haruki, Alison, Will, Kai, Clarisse, Sarah, and Curtis!
  • 13 cubic metres of invasive species were removed!
    • Species removed included English Ivy, English Holly, and a bit of Himalayan Blackberry!
  • An area of 350 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 with litter they removed from the forest!
  • 24 participants visited Mystic Vale for the first time
  • 15 participants removed invasive plants for the first time
  • 5 participants were UVic students

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 Sunday December 4, 2022, the Greater Victoria Green Team hosted an invasive species removal activity in partnership with University of Victoria Campus Planning & Sustainability! 39 awesome community members spent the morning removing invasive English ivy from UVic’s Mystic Vale. It was a great opportunity to return to this beautiful, local ecosystem; GVGT worked in Mystic Vale last year so it was great to check in and see how areas we previously worked in have been recovering! 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 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!

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 (which was perfect for the many students who will be starting exams soon!). 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 was also GVGT’s final activity of 2022! To celebrate, we brought some special treats – hot chocolate, peppermint tea, and homemade baked goods! Kaitlin baked delicious vegan brownies using Fatso’s salted caramel peanut butter.

Thank you to Lush, Nature Bee Clean, Fatso, Tru Earth, EarthRated, and Elate 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 Maria or Kaitlin at or

Volunteer Testimonials

“I enjoyed hanging out with different people across Victoria, cleaning up the invasive species and overall having a good time. This program can really help others know what’s considered invasive to our ecosystem. English ivy is seen so commonly across the campus that we don’t even bother about it, leading it to fester and grow even more problematic not only for us but to our forests. The fact that there is a program out there that deals with this kind of issue is critical for the restoration of forests in BC and the rest of Canada”

– Cici

“Loved the introduction circle! I also liked how the event hosts circled around and seemed to make time to chat with everyone. The impacts of this program are community building, environmental improvement, physical activity, increased sense of belonging.”

– Anonymous

“I enjoyed the feeling of working with my hands in nature, it was satisfying to see how how to see the progress we made in clearing the English ivy. I also appreciated the way the way the event coordinators interacted with others, and as someone who has very little plant/nature knowledge it was cool to learn a little bit.”

– Calvin

“People are able to gather to form connections and participate in meaningful work; I think that this is exactly the kind of thing that many people need right now. Thanks for being some welcoming and inclusive!”

– Jalen

“I enjoyed the snacks!”

– Violet

“So many different people showed up to volunteer and it was great to meet and talk to people. Involving people in stewarding their landscapes helps to bring communities together and build a sense of collective. Meeting individuals from all different backgrounds and volunteering time to be outside and interact with the places we live, gives everyone a strong sense of empowerment and belonging”

– Aidan

“I’m used to experiencing nature in walks or hikes, so I feel that the impact of the program, at least for people like me, is an opportunity to interact with nature in a more hands on way. Learning about nature in this way, I think creates a deeper appreciation for the local forests and plants. I think programs like this are also important because shared activities with others are a great way to talk people, especially people you might normally not interact with.”

– Calvin

“Well organized and enthusiastic leadership! There is significant value in bringing the community together towards a goal like invasive species removal. The program does that well!”

– Travis

“I enjoyed seeing the progress we were making and I like how a lot of pictures were taken!”

– Abigail

Community in Action!

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

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!

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