Invasive Species Removal in UVic’s Mystic Vale, May 5, 2023!

Invasive Species Removal in UVic’s Mystic Vale, May 5, 2023!


The Greater Victoria Green Team spent the day engaging 48 volunteers from UVic’s Biology department and Mount Douglas Secondary School to remove invasive English ivy at Mystic Vale!






  • In total 48 community members participated and contributed over 84 volunteer hours!
  • We removed 11 cubic metres of invasive English Ivy (equivalent to the volume of about 68 bathtubs!) and revitalized about 400 square metres of the forest!
    • Participants also removed a small amount of English Holly and Himalayan Blackberry!
  • We planted 2 Douglas fir trees, donated by a UVic faculty member!
  • We removed 3 bags of garbage from the forest!
  • 2 community members were introduced to Mystic Vale for the very first time!
  • 7 people learned about and removed invasive plants for the very first time!
  • 27 participants were UVic students, faculty, or staff!




Thank you to everyone for participating: Taylor, Lola, Kristina, Greg, Camille, Mackenzie, Mack, Jennie, Laura, Peter, Amalis, Kris, Maggie, Jürgen, Eva, Dominique, Graham, Lindsay, Kaede, Barbara, Paul, Christopher, Ashley, Kévan, Daisy, Sarah, Kaitlyn, Brian, Michelle, Evan, and Natalie & their grade 11 Environmental Science class!

Thank-you very much to the UVic office of Campus Planning and Sustainability for partnering with us and contributing to our Green Team activities! Thank you for recognizing the importance of collaboration in community engagement and ecological restoration!




English Ivy and other invasive species have been crowding and shading out the native understory and threatening the trees growing at Mystic Vale. Ivy can smother trees by competing with them for nutrients and light, which makes the trees weaker and more susceptible to fall. The Greater Victoria Green Team has helped remove invasive species from Mystic Vale many times over the past several years. Most recently, we have been working along the trail near the south corner of Lot 1, and the difference we are seeing is truly inspiring! Areas that were once carpeted with ivy are now clear, with native plants like fringe cup popping up now that it’s spring.

Equally inspiring is seeing just how many people come out to tackle invasive species in this forest! Community members of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds came together on Sunday to connect with each other and with nature. It is truly amazing to see so many people working together towards a goal, all while having fun and making new friends!


Before… and After!


By being out in nature doing something positive as a team, our community members:

  • Develop a sense of belonging to community and place
  • Have improved mental and physical health
  • Connect to nature, which leads to environmentally responsible behaviour
  • Learn about local environmental issues and actions they can take
  • Learn the value of bringing together people to work towards a common goal
  • Become leaders in their communities
  • Increase confidence, resilience and perseverance


Volunteer Testimonials


“[The impact of this program is] bringing meaningful community connection and rewarding events to do something positive for the environment. I enjoyed feeling a sense of purpose, community, fun, and joy.”

– Amalis

“The physical activity was great. The facilitators were informative, friendly, and thought of everything. I think the path looks so much nicer without the excessive ivy. I think this might impress people and more people might want to walk this path. I also think it will be easier for smaller animals to traverse the ground without all the ivy, and native plants and animals will have a better chance to establish themselves in this environment.”

– Kris

“Our participation was a team-building event for our department. The event truly brought coworkers closer together. The impact on the local area is also significant. We feel more connected to the space we worked in because of the time we spent removing invasive species.”

– Jennie

“[I enjoyed the] social part and just knowing we are doing something good for our environment and our campus. It is very important as we can be more aware that doing our part (even if it is not much) we can make a huge difference in the environment. We can also be inspired to keep doing this more than once a year.”

– Laura

“We were looking for an opportunity to make a difference and do something sustainable, and of course have a bit of a team-building exercise and have some fun at the same time. It’s been a really good experience for us and we love working with the Green Team!”

– Peter, UVic Biology Department Chair

“The class I teach here is Environmental Science 11, and one key component of the course is actually getting out into the land and engaging in ecosystem restoration and acts of reconciliation. So this is the perfect opportunity—it’s walking distance from our school, and it’s always great when we can work with an already established community partner to participate in the projects they already have going on.”

– Natalie, Mt. Doug Secondary School teacher



Community In Action!


Click the arrows on the photo below to scroll through our favourite moments from the day!



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

Maria and Kaitlin were hired through Green Teams of Canada’s Youth Leadership Program. We are hiring a new Youth Leader for 2023! Visit GTC’s website for more information.


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