Green Teams Canada logo of colourful tree and name of organization

GVGT in Action

Esquimalt Gorge Park October 16th, 2020

On Sunday, October 16th the Greater Victoria Green Team gathered at Esquimalt Gorge Park to plant native trees and shrubs and remove invasive species threatening their native rivals. Our efforts were coordinated by park staff and Esquimalt’s Manager of Parks and Facilities Rick Daykin. Together our 23 volunteers planted ~30 plants including Big Leaf Maple, Shore Pine, Douglas Fir, Bitter Cherry, Garry Oak, and Snow Berry and removed 2 cubic meters of invasive Himalayan Blackberry and Thistle covering an area of 200 metres.

THANK YOU

Thank you to our volunteers: Tiago, Carmina, Shauna, Tala, Peter, Kim, Tom, Valerie, Anu, Guy, Karen, Barbara, Andre, Barb, Meagan, Carilia, Bretty, Emily, Morgan, Zenen, Vanessa, David, and Meagan!

Thank you to the Township of Esquimalt for continuing to support and contribute to GVGT programs and to Esquimalt Gorge Park for facilitating this incredible opportunity for community members to be apart of!

Photo Albums from the day are found here: 1st Session & 2nd Session

Group Photos!

Highlights

  • In total 23 GVGT volunteers came out to plant approximately 30 native plants and shrubs and remove 2 cubic metres of invasive plant matter covering an area of 200 square metres.
  • 9 people were introduced to Esquimalt Gorge Park and 17 people had never planted native trees and shrubs!
  • Volunteers reported feeling welcomed and appreciated as well as safe and left feeling accomplished.
  • Thank you to our in-kind sponsors who donated thank you gifts to our community: EarthRated dog poop bags, tea lights from Honey Candles, Lush hard perfume and West Coast Seeds.

Participant Quotes

I feel the program builds strong community and connection to space. When people plant trees, they will go back to the park and see those trees and want to protect them. Community members will meet other like minded individuals to continue the work of conservation.

It’s nice to be around people who don’t mind working outside in the rain! I also really enjoy learning more about conservation, and as someone coming from a music and psych background, it is really nice to learn to be a better steward of the land.

This program has a very positive impact on the community. It is a way for people to get out and socialize and help communities with their green programs/initiatives.

Emily was awesome. She gave great instruction and made me feel included and involved. The parks staff were great as well.

Friendly and welcoming staff; like that you do a territory acknowledgement; appreciated learning a bit about planting trees; enjoyed working with my hands; enjoyed chatting with others; liked contributing to community and doing positive things for the environment.

Before and After

Volunteers in Action

Gallery

Murray Pond Park October 8th, 2020

On Thursday October 8th, the Greater Victoria Green Team met at Murray Pond Park to remove Himalayan Blackberry compromising the natural habitat and threatening native plants. Community members were joined with grade nine students from Linda Funk’s biology class at Royal Bay Secondary School. In total the 27 of us logged 46 volunteer hours! It was a full, long day and our efforts certainly paid off!

THANK YOU

Thank you to our volunteers: Ainsley, David, Henry, Finola, Gary, Jason, Judy, Lori, Susanne, Valerie, Linda and her two classes!

Thank you to the City of Colwood for your continued support! Environmental stewardship is a collaborative effort and we depend on your support to further our mission and appreciate your dedication to restoring Colwood parks.

A Photo Albums from the day are found here!

Group Photos

Highlights

  • In total 27 GVGT volunteers came out and removed 9 cubic metres of Himalayan Blackberry. Our efforts totalled more than 46 volunteer hours!
  • 7 people were introduced to the park and 6 people had never removed invasive species before!
  • Thank you to our in-kind sponsors who donated thank you gifts to our community: EarthRated dog poop bags, tea lights from Honey Candles, Lush hard perfume and West Coast Seeds.

Participant Quotes

The impact of this program is huge. Without removing the invasive species we would have no biodiversity!

I enjoyed chatting with other volunteers and making a difference!

After Photos

Volunteers in Action

Gallery

UVic Mystic Vale October 4th, 2020

On Sunday October 4th, the Greater Victoria Green Team met at UVic Mystic Vale to remove English Ivy threatening native plants. Our efforts were led by Restoration of Natural Systems Director and UVic Professor Nancy Shackelford and co-op student and UVic’s Ecological Restoration Club leader John Kang. John and Nancy are leading a photo monitoring project to track the return of biodiversity and regrowth of native species in Mystic, as well as how much English Ivy tries to creep back!

THANK YOU

Thank you to our volunteers: Andre, Ellen, Alex, Anu, Barbara, Dean, Christine, Eldan, Fang, Finola, Jules, Julie, Kaila, Kevin, Simon, Laura, Lily T., Matthew, Meghan C., Meghan M., Mira, Melinda, Oceana, Oliver, Rebecca, Raven, Sonia, Sophie, Sal, Tessa, Sophia, Tyson, Lily B., Kevin and Zuva. In total the 37 of us logged 97 volunteer hours (that’s about 2.5 weeks of full time work for one person!)!

Thank you to the University of Victoria for your continued support! Environmental stewardship is a collaborative effort and we depend on your support to further our mission and appreciate your dedication to restoring Mystic Vale.

A Photo Albums from the day are found here: 1st Session & 2nd Session!

Group Photos!

Highlights

  • In total 37 GVGT volunteers came out and removed 6 cubic metres of English Ivy. Our efforts totalled more than 97 volunteer hours!
  • 21 people were introduced to the park and 21 people had never removed invasive species before!
  • Thank you to our in-kind sponsors who donated thank you gifts to our community: EarthRated dog poop bags, tea lights from Honey Candles, Lush hard perfume and West Coast Seeds.

Participant Quotes

I really enjoyed knowing a bit about the background of English Ivy and how to identify it. I also really enjoyed seeing the impact of all the hard work the other volunteers did! This program connects people with natural areas of Greater Victoria and educates people about the importance of removing invasive species to protect biodiversity in urban areas.

With enough hands we can make some real progress on getting settler-introduced species out of public lands, undoing some of the harm that we settlers have done to both indigenous people and native flora & fauna.

Getting out to pull ivy was such a good way to get outside, chat with some people, while also feeling like I was giving back to an area I walk through frequently. The time I was there flew by and would love to get out again!

I loved getting my hands dirty, spending time outside, and meeting some new people in a safe environment! Emily was knowledgeable and welcoming.

Before and After

Volunteers in Action

Gallery

Ayum Creek Park, Sooke October 3rd, 2020

On Saturday October 3rd, the Greater Victoria Green Team joined forces with The Land Conservancy to remove invasive Common Periwinkle at Ayum Creek Park in Sooke. Our efforts were led by Biologist and Land Manager for The Land Conservancy, Torrey Archer who instructed volunteers on how to clip periwinkle at ground level and then cover the forest understory with cardboard to prevent regrowth.

Common Periwinkle, scientifically referred to vinca minor, is a small evergreen plant with glossy dark green leaves and white or purple flowers that typically bloom in spring and summer. Similar to English Ivy, Common Periwinkle is a smothering invasive, forming dense mats on the forest floor, which creates a monoculture, suppresses native plant species and reduces biodiversity. Currently located in the Lower Mainland of BC and parts of Vancouver Island, Common Periwinkle can withstand poor growing conditions, which has allowed it to continue spreading through BC.

In order to prevent further spread of this species please be ‘PlantWise’ when selecting ornamental plants for gardens. Use alternative non-invasive species in place of ornamental invasive plants.

THANK YOU

Thank you to our volunteers: Dean, Brandy, Claudia, Robyn, Josiah, Grace, Catrien, Julian, Lori, Megan, Bernard, Richard, and Tiago.

Thank you to The Land Conservancy for supporting GVGT programs – it is always a joy to work with you. We look forward to our final event for 2020 on October 27th.

A Photo Album from the day are found here!

Group Photos!

Highlights

  • In total 18 GVGT volunteers came out to help clip Periwinkle and cover the ground with cardboard, totalling more than 35 hours!
  • An area of ~275 square metres was worked on – impressive!
  • 8 people were introduced to Ayum Creek Park and 5 people had never worked with Common Periwinkle before!
  • Volunteers reported feeling welcomed and appreciated as well as safe and left feeling accomplished.
  • Thank you to our in-kind sponsors who donated thank you gifts to our community: EarthRated dog poop bags, tea lights from Honey Candles, Lush hard perfume and West Coast Seeds.

Participant Quotes

I enjoyed the socializing and learning from other members of the community. I liked making a difference to help the forest thrive and the common goal of bringing people together.

This event creates a more meaningful connection with the land for me. Doing these kinds of things definitely gives me a feeling of attachment to conservation areas.

I enjoyed everything: It was fun, well organized, I learned new things. Thank you for the opportunity!

Before and After

Volunteers in Action

Gallery

Gowlland Tod Park September 27th, 2020

On Sunday September 27th, the Greater Victoria Green Team in collaboration with BC Parks had the unique opportunity to protect red-listed Phantom Orchid by removing English Ivy and Daphne from its surrounding habitat. Phantom Orchid is a white, non-photosynthetic, rhizomatous perennial. Flowering stems have 5-20 vanilla scented white flowers, each with a yellow gland on the lower lip. Phantom Orchids are more commonly known as “snow orchids” and are often mistaken for Indian Pipe, which is a similar looking white, non-photosynthetic perennial that occurs in the same types of habitats.

As a “myco-heterotrophic” species, the Phantom Orchid lacks chlorophyll and is unable to photosynthesize. Rather this species obtains nutrients from fungi, which in turn forms an association with a tree species. To facilitate this unique relationship, the majority of the plants structure is underground. Very cool!

Other than the Victoria/Saanich Peninsula, the Phantom Orchid is found in only three other locations in British Columbia: Saltspring Island, south of Harrison Lake and the greater Abbotsford-Mission-Chilliwack area in the Fraser Lowlands. There are only eight existing and two historical populations in all of Canada.

Threats to Phantom Orchids
  • This species has limited recovery and recolonization potential due to the tenuous relationship between the orchid, fungus and tree species making artificial propagation (reproduction that involves human intervention) difficult.
  • Disturbance activities can negatively impact either the partner tree or the fungal partner.
  • Habitat modification and destruction resulting from urban development, timber harvesting and recreational activities such as mountain biking.
  • Harvesting of plants by collectors and hobbyists can damage or destroy plants and reduce wild populations.

THANK YOU

Thank you to our volunteers: Richard, Deanna, Vanessa, Sandy, Adam, Galaad, Mary, Guy, Roy, Barbara, Andre, Dean, Brian, Arthur, Matt, Terra, Laura, Jacob, Erica, Christina, Meghan, Robyn, Josiah and Grace! In total the 22 of us logged 40 hours (that’s a week’s work for one person!)!

Thank you to BC Parks for your collaboration and hard work. It was fantastic working with you and we look forward to next time!

A Photo Albums from the day are found here: 1st Session & 2nd Session!

Group Photos!

Highlights

  • In total 22 GVGT volunteers came out and removed 4 cubic metres of English Ivy and Daphne in Gowlland Tod Park. Our efforts totalled more than 40 volunteer hours!
  • 9 people were introduced to the park and 8 people had never removed invasive species before!
  • Thank you to our in-kind sponsors who donated thank you gifts to our community: EarthRated dog poop bags, tea lights from Honey Candles, Lush hard perfume and West Coast Seeds.

Before and After

Volunteers in Action

Gallery

Uplands Park September 26th, 2020

On Saturday, September 26th over 30 people sign up to volunteer with the Greater Victoria Green Team, in partnership with Friends of Uplands Park. We crossed our fingers for the rain to hold off, which it did… until it didn’t. Most of our volunteers stayed dry except for the few that stayed till the bitter end to help clean up. Luckily, it didn’t deter us in our efforts to pull Daphne, an invasive species threatening the park. In total 31 people volunteered their time, logging more than 50 hours – wow!

THANK YOU

Thank you to our volunteers: Alaa, Alex, Anu, Arthur, Dean, Brandon, Rosanna, Carmina, David, Eric, Fritha, Johanna, Jonah, Mieka, Teja, Klya, Liz, Mathew, Mohamed, Dennis, Richard, Siena, Shauna, Sonia, Ashley, Suzie, Tiago, Timmy-Rose, Daniel. You are Daphne-pulling, rain-weathering rock stars! Thank you for giving your time, resources and energy to restoring Uplands Park. Your work makes a huge difference in what we are able to accomplish as a community. Thank you.

Thank you to Oak Bay for being an incredible partner! With your support the GVGT is able to continue engaging community while giving back to the environment. Fulfilling our mission is dependent on you – thank you!

A Photo Albums from the day are found here: 1st Session & 2nd Session!

Group Photos!

Highlights

  • In total 31 GVGT volunteers came out to help remove Daphne, totalling 52 hours!
  • 2 cubic metres of invasive Daphne was removed from an area of 200 square metres!
  • 15 people were introduced to Uplands Park and 14 people had never pulled invasive Daphne!
  • Volunteers reported feeling welcomed and appreciated as well as safe and left feeling accomplished.
  • Thank you to our in-kind sponsors who donated thank you gifts to our community: EarthRated dog poop bags, tea lights from Honey Candles, Lush hard perfume and West Coast Seeds.

Participant Quotes

This program connects people with nature which is harder for many in highly developed urban areas. It also connects people with green spaces they might not know about and teaches them about biodiversity and why it is important to maintain biodiversity in threatened areas.

It was wonderful volunteering with the Greater Victoria Green Team today! The group has great energy and I had a lot of fun!

Volunteers in Action

Stoneridge Wetland Park September 24th, 2020

The rain did not deter the Greater Victoria Green Team last Thursday, September 24th. While we work in all kinds of weather, rain is good for freshly planted native shrubs and that’s exactly what volunteers came to do.

Stoneridge Wetland Park is an important green space for View Royal community members and it felt good to contribute to restoring the wetland habitat – a project that has already seen many hours of labor. During the two sessions the GVGT planted over 1,000 plants, about a quarter of the plants destined for the wetland.

Our planting efforts was led by Habitat Restoration Project Coordinator Chris Junck who is incredibly knowledgeable, dedicated and appreciative of the GVGT community.

THANK YOU

Thank you to our volunteers: Aaron, Carly, Chris, Robyn, Grace, Josiah, Ilka, Lisa, Cathie, Paul, Simon, Chris and Timmy-Rose. It was wonderful speaking with each of you while we connected (literally) with the land. Your work makes a huge difference in what we are able to accomplish as a community. Thank you.

Thank you to View Royal for your belief in our mission and work. It is because of your support that we are able to engage in work that serves ourselves and our community as much as it serves the land.

A Photo Albums from the day are found here: 1st Session & 2nd Session!

Group Photos!

Highlights

  • In total 12 GVGT volunteers came out to help plant over 1,000 plants in Stoneridge Wetland Park. Our efforts totalled more than 28 volunteer hours!
  • 6 people were introduced to Stoneridge Wetland Park and 5 people had never planted native species before!
  • Volunteers reported feeling welcomed, appreciated, safe and accomplished.
  • Thank you to our in-kind sponsors who donated thank you gifts to our community: EarthRated dog poop bags, tea lights from Honey Candles, Lush hard perfume and West Coast Seeds.

Volunteer Quotes

GVGT gives people who would like to volunteer but can’t commit to regular sessions the opportunity to volunteer when they can! We love coming out – as long as our backs hold out!

GVGT builds community and preserves a pocket of natural space in an area rapidly being built on by the expanding population – important work!

The GVGT introduced me to a project and natural area I wouldn’t have otherwise heard of. Great people, good work.

Before and After

The Finished Site

Volunteers in Action

Gallery

Nymph Point Park, North Saanich September 20

On Sunday, September 20th the Greater Victoria Green Team headed to Nymph Point Park in North Saanich to pull Hedera helix or, as it is more commonly known as, English Ivy. Hedera helix is a smothering invasive introduced to North America from Europe and western Asian during colonial times. Since its debut, the ivy has flourished, needing little light and water to thrive. As it spreads, English Ivy creates a monoculture ground cover of thick ivy mats that suppresses and excludes other vegetation, overwhelms native plants, prevents natural seedling succession, and debilitates trees. Removing English Ivy helps protect the biodiversity of British Columbia and the native species already competing for limited resources.

THANK YOU

Thank you to our volunteers: Arthur, Rosanna, Mieka, Tuma, Taishir, Roger, Joan, Anni, Adam, Roger and Alex. Your work makes a huge difference in what we are able to accomplish as a community. Thank you.

Thank you to North Saanich for continuing to support and contribute to GVGT programs. It is because of your support and belief in our work that it is possible for us to continue doing what we do!

A Photo Albums from the day are found here: 1st Session & 2nd Session!

Group Photos!

Highlights

  • In total 13 GVGT volunteers came out to help remove English Ivy, totalling more than 28 hours!
  • 2 cubic metres of invasive plant matter was removed from an area of 100 square metres! (That’s a lot of ivy!)
  • 7 people were introduced to Nymph Point Park and 4 people had never pulled English Ivy!
  • Volunteers reported feeling welcomed and appreciated as well as safe and left feeling accomplished.
  • Thank you to our in-kind sponsors who donated thank you gifts to our community: EarthRated dog poop bags, tea lights from Honey Candles, Lush hard perfume and West Coast Seeds.

Before and After

The Heap!

Volunteers in Action

Gallery

Esquimalt Gorge Park September 19, 2020

On Sunday, September 19th the smoke cleared and the AQHI finally granted the Greater Victoria Green Team permission to safely run an event! What a relief for our community, health and green spaces!

Volunteers gathered at Esquimalt Gorge Park to plant a pollinator meadow and remove invasive species threatening their native rivals. Our efforts were led by Gorge Waterway Action Society’s Restoration Coordinator Stephanie Gurney and Esquimalt’s Manager of Parks and Facilities Rick Daykin. Park staff and 25 volunteers collectively planted 805 pollinator species and cleared invasive thistle, blackberry and grasses threatening the project.

THANK YOU

Thank you to our volunteers: Kuojung, Arthur, Barb, Bridget, Brock, Carmina, Celeste, Darcie, Yujin, Robyn, Josiah, Grace, Marjorie, Julian, Richard, Simon, Grace, Marcia, Nicole, Daisy, Raven, Taylor, Tara, and Valerie. A big thank you to Rick, Kyle and Chelsea for your direction and help facilitating.

Thank you to the Township of Esquimalt for continuing to support and contribute to GVGT programs and to Gorge Action Waterway Society for pioneering this exciting project!

A Photo Album from the day are found here!

Group Photos!

Highlights

  • In total 24 GVGT volunteers came out to help plant the pollinator meadow and remove invasive species, totalling more than 75 hours!
  • Volunteers planted ~150-200 plants!
  • An impressive 5 cubic metres of invasive plant matter was removed from an area of 200 square metres!
  • 11 people were introduced to Esquimalt Gorge Park and 18 people had never planted a pollinator meadow before!
  • Volunteers reported feeling welcomed and appreciated as well as safe and left feeling accomplished.
  • Thank you to our in-kind sponsors who donated thank you gifts to our community: EarthRated dog poop bags, tea lights from Honey Candles, Lush hard perfume and West Coast Seeds.

Participant Quotes

The Greater Victoria Green team allows me to give back to my community and parks in a way that I wouldn’t otherwise have the chance. This is how long lasting change starts.

This was my first experience with the Greater Victoria Green Team and I felt really welcome and appreciated. It felt great to be apart of something bigger than me!

Thank you to everyone who came out and engaged in such important work! Not everyone understands why this is so important – we recognize and applaud you!

Before and After

The Finished Meadow!

The Heap!

Volunteers in Action

Gallery

Lund Road in View Royal August 30th 2020

There’s a patch of greenery nestled amongst rows of houses on the edge of Thetis Lake Regional Park and Mill Hill Regional Park along Lund Road. To passers by it might not look like much but local residents know it as an Indigenous burial ground and home to many native plants. Unfortunately, many of the native species are being choked out by invasive species such as Himalayan Blackberry, Daphne and Broom, forcing native species to compete for limited resources and threatening biodiversity. Thankfully on Sunday, August 30th, Greater Victoria Green Team volunteers gathered in partnership with the municipality of View Royal, including local Lund Road residents, to remove the invasive species that threaten the site. Our efforts were led by Habitat Restoration Project Coordinator Chris Junck who was instrumental in educating and directing our team’s efforts.

THANK YOU

Thank you to everyone for participating: Arthur, Simon, Raven, Tyson, Kevyn, Daisy, Richard, Julian, Teagan, Devin, Quin, Karycia, Bao, Zenen, Aaron, Clark, Paul, Alex, Chris and Edmund.

Thank you to the View Royal for continuing to support GVGT programs – it is because of you that we are able to invest in our community while supporting ecological restoration efforts. 

Photo Albums from the day are found here: 1ST SESSION and 2ND SESSION

Group Photos (1st and 2nd sessions)!

Highlights

  • In total 16 GVGT volunteers worked to remove Blackberry, Daphne and Broom, totalling more than 40 hours!
  • An impressive 9 cubic metres of invasive species were removed from an area of 100 square metres!
  • 11 people were introduced to the Lund Road site area and it was 6 people’s first time working with either Daphne, Broom or Blackberry.
  • Thank you to our in-kind sponsors who donated thank you gifts to our community: EarthRated dog poop bags, Green Beaver chap stick, Lush hard perfume, Honey Candles and West Coast Seeds.

Participant Quotes

Honestly, the fact that people are doing SOMETHING to combat invasive species makes me feel really good that it’s not something that we’re just passively accepting. I like the idea of investing in the place where I live and I’m happy for this opportunity.

This was one of the most geographically diverse groups I can remember. We had participants from the island, the mainland, the interior… Alberta, Ontario, PEI, and Newfoundland…Vietnam, China, and Siberia! It’s a clear indication of how welcoming this group is, and how open all participants are to sharing a good cause with good people. For many of us, it is hard to meet new people and even harder to meet folks from a wide range of backgrounds. But here at the Green Team it is commonplace. Being able to do good work, share good feelings, and meet good people… such a gift.

Each Green Team event improves the ecosystem, either through the removal of invasive species or through the planting of native species, while also changing the values of the participants and the residents surrounding the rehabilitation site. Every time we go to a pocket park or a wild area in proximity to residential properties we have fruitful conversations about the value of natural space, the importance of green amongst the grey, and the impact that our work has on the community. 

After

Volunteers in Action

1st Session

2nd Session