Taking on the challenge of stewarding Stanley Park’s diverse ecosystems is only possible with hard-working and dedicated volunteers that join in the Park to remove invasive species and plant native trees and shrubs. Since November of last year, SPES’s stewardship volunteers have maintained over 31,000 m2 of Stanley Park, and have removed more than 300m3 of invasive plant material including Himalayan blackberry and English ivy. Dedicated SIRT volunteers suit up every Wednesday in high vis vests, work gloves, and mud boots to tackle these tenacious plants, which is no small feat. At the end of a rainy day, a volunteer is almost guaranteed to find mud in unexpected places like inside their socks, or caked into their hair. Mud is only the beginning when digging out blackberry, whose sharp thorns are enough to give volunteers a talking point with friends for at least two weeks (“…and this scar is from a 12m blackberry cane I pulled out with my own hands!”).
SPES was delighted this past February to welcome Lilian Truong (TD Friends of the Environment (TDFEF) Regional Manager, Pacific & Prairie Region) and TD branch managers Kenneth Yuen and Agatha Yuen to tour some of the ongoing stewardship projects in the Park, and to celebrate the success of all the hard work that volunteers have contributed.
Clad in office attire, they dove into the challenge of pulling English ivy from an area of the Park still recovering from the 2006 windstorm to get a taste of what a typical volunteer does for 3 hours every week. TD FEF’s invaluable funding contributes to this work, and is essential to keeping muddy gloves and vests clean, sharp tools sharp, and volunteers happy.
Warm thanks to TD FEF for their November 2016 contribution of $4,646 to SPES’ invasive plant management work. Together we are winning the battle against invasive species in Stanley Park!
By Kari Pocock, Stewardship Coordinator