This week a group of environmental volunteers were joined by a beauty pageant winner, elementary students and UVic students to remove invasive plants from Greater Victoria’s parks and learn about the natural ecosystems.
The Greater Victoria Green Team (GVGT) is a non-profit organization that routinely holds land-stewardship volunteer opportunities throughout the capital region.
They were joined by none other than Layanna Robinson who is Miss Earth Canada 2023 and a local Victorian.
On Tuesday, March 7th, the GVGT was joined by 150 students from Eagle View Elementary School as well as Robinson to get their hands dirty and learn about the environment in Aldersmith Park in View Royal.
The students, pageant queen and volunteers learned and worked together to plant 20 Douglas Fir trees and remove invasive species such as English Ivy and Himalayan Blackberry, which are common invasives in the area.
Two days later, on Thursday, March 9th, more than 70 UVic biogeography students and around 50 students of Campus View Elementary and Mount Douglas Secondary schools.
More English Ivy was removed by Robinson and the students in Mystic Vale, located on the UVic campus.
All in all, the group removed 14 cubic metres of invasive species, which is equivalent to around 88 bathtubs-full.
“We have been examining invasive species in general and how just one species can really impact the landscape,” said Jill Krezoski, a UVic biogeography professor.
“Doing hands-on learning by being outside and getting students out of the classroom is a really profound and excellent way of learning; it’s how I learned a lot of stuff that I know, and so I just want to pass that on.”
“Getting students out here and actually seeing, in a real environment, what’s going on, is the best way to learn.”
The GVGT does events like this often and those looking to volunteer and connect with nature can do so by checking out GVGT’s upcoming schedule.
Their next park cleanup event will be held on Saturday, March 18th at Ocean View Park in Colwood and on Friday, March 24th, they’ll be cleaning up and maintaining Oswald Community Park Garden in Oaklands.