More than 50 volunteers dug in the dirt to remove invasive plants in Chantrell Park on Saturday morning.
The volunteers, organized by the Sunnyside Acres Heritage Society and the Lower Mainland Green Team, removed Himalayan Blackberry roots and replaced them with native plants and trees, including Big Leaf Maples, Sitka Spruces and Western Red Cedars at the park, located near 22 Avenue and 140 Street.
“It’s really important to remove the invasive plants because they outcompete our native plants – basically taking over – and then our native plants suffer,” said Lyda Salatian, organizer of the LMGT, a volunteer group comprising people from all over the Lower Mainland who work together once a month to help environmental groups in the region.
With tools and gloves in hand, the volunteers worked for hours to remove a cubic metre of blackberry roots.
If the blackberry plants had taken over, local wildlife would suffer, said Salatian, and by ensuring there is a variety of native plants, animals who live in the forest will be able to flourish.
“With a wide variety of plants, there will be a wide variety of wildlife, eating and living in the area. It definitely makes it much better,” said Salatian.
According to Salatian, invasive plants are often brought over from Europe as ornamentals but are discarded improperly.
“Unfortunately, people can buy them at some garden centres for potted plants and then will throw them over their fence, thinking they’re doing some good, but then they will grow and it just takes off from there,” Salatian said.
Organizers chose the park to enhance habitat because it is a natural corridor to Sunnyside Acres Urban Forest.
For information about the Lower Mainland Green Team, visit the group’s website, www.meetup.com/the-lower-mainland-green-team or for information about Sunnyside Acres Society go to www.sunnysideacres.ca