Sybil Rowe

Pacific Heights students become ‘guardians’ of forest land

Grade 5 class sends letter and petition to the City of Surrey with concerns about protecting a natural corridor east of the school

When Grandview Heights tree advocate-activist Sybil Rowe chatted with Grade 5 students of Pacific Heights Elementary last month, they were meeting on common ground – in more ways than one.

The senior – who gave students her self-designed Guardians of the Forest badges, featuring an image of an owl – lives just across the street from the school.

And Division 4 teacher Mary Holmes said Rowe, 78, has been cited to the students as a positive “example of the role of citizen involvement” for her recent work in having a former horse farm on 168 Avenue confirmed as a passive park by Surrey’s Parks, Recreation and Sport Tourism Committee, and red-flagging majestic evergreens along 168 for special attention by the engineering department in future development plans for the area.

But the children have their own project to save trees in the neighborhood – in particular  forest land immediately east of the school between 24 and 26 Avenues – which they have been working on with the assistance of student teacher Angela Moino.

They’re writing to Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts with a petition to save the corridor – part of it a previously-logged but regrown area earmarked for a road allowance, but the rest a city-owned two acres of virtually pristine forest.

The students ask that council reconsiders “planning and zoning of this valuable space.”

“This green space is part of a corridor for creatures to travel to and from the Nicomekl River and Semiahmoo Bay,” the students’ petition states. “It is also a wonderful place to learn about our environment and a place just to be.”

There are sufficient roads in the area for residents, students say, while the forest is “home to many creatures, flora and fauna.”

“We’ve seen deer right by the school,” Holmes said, as the students walked along the eastern perimeter of the school grounds at 17148 26 Ave.

“The children have often watched squirrels playing from the windows of our classroom.”

Proudly displayed on a wall in the school lobby are images Holmes’ class created after nature walks in the forest – many based on rubbings of tree bark, leaves and sticks – and also descriptions in the students own words of how being in the forest makes them feel.

Some of these are summarized in the students’ letter to Watts, in which they say “when we were in the forest, we felt peaceful, healthy, calm, comfortable and safe.”

The students said they have been studying the forest for two months. They plan to offer the petition to all students in the school and distribute Rowe’s badges to those who want to participate.

“It’s wonderful that the children are thinking like this at their age,” Rowe said. “This is their future.”



Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey Fire Fighters Charitable Society doing ‘better than we were expecting’ amid COVID-19

At one point, the board thought it might have a donation shortfall of $250,000

Delta artist John Horton named to Order of British Columbia

Honour for significant contributions made to the appreciation and safety of B.C.’s coastal history

Wrong-way driver triggers multi-vehicle collision on Highway 99 in South Surrey

Police received multiple reports of vehicle heading north in southbound lanes

Man arrested in ‘after-hours club crackdown’ in Whalley, Surrey RCMP say

Police say they received information about clubs, parties ‘springing up’ at commercial properties

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

FURTHER UPDATE: Body removed from Maple Ridge hotel after large police presence

A large contingent of Mounties were at the Art Infiniti Hotel Friday afternoon and evening

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

PHOTOS: Moving day for 110-year-old Fraser Valley heritage house

Chilliwack heritage house makes 1.7-kilometre journey to new location

Plainclothes Abbotsford police officer deletes cellphone video after drawing gun on innocent man

‘They never asked me what I was doing there, strictly came out with guns, threatening to shoot me’

CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for Aug. 7

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Most Read

l -->