Armed with gardening gloves, hand pruners, and loppers, a team of volunteers removed an alien species from Campbell Valley Regional Park on St. Patrick's Day.
Two years ago founder Lyda Salatian started the Lower Mainland Green Team (LMGT), and the group's very first event was on March 6, 2011, at the South Langley park, where they pulled English ivy.
Fast forward two years and the LMGT has run 72 events all over the Lower Mainland in municipal, regional and provincial parks.
And the word is spreading.
"We have 1,468 volunteers, and we're growing by two volunteers a day," Salatian said. "There definitely seems to be a real need. People want to help the environment and don't know what to do. The Lower Mainland Green Team is offering opportunities."
On March 17 the team members were back at the place where it all started.
With the support and guidance of Metro Vancouver Parks, they pulled ivy again.
Ivy is an evergreen climbing plant and quickly spreads, inhibiting the growth and regeneration of native plants, and smothering trees. English ivy can climb up a tree and suffocate it.
A total of 24 LMGT volunteers from Langley, Surrey, White Rock, Coquitlam, and Abbotsford - some of whom had never pulled ivy before - removed 300 square metres of ivy, saving trees and giving native plants a chance.
"The weather was fantastic," Salatian said. "We had 24 volunteers in total and they came from all over the place. One person rode his bike all the way from Abbotsford - amazing."
The LMGT is partnering with the Langley Environmental Partners Society (LEPS) for a couple of upcoming cleanups and weed pulls, and will be hosting five events in Langley during the spring/summer season.
In April, which is Earth Month, the LMGT is hosting an invasive plant pull every weekend except April 27-28.
The next plant pull is at Derby Reach on April 7. The meeting spot is at the end of McKinnon Crescent/104th Avenue at 9:45 a.m. sharp.
Scotch broom and alder removal takes place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., with breaks and refreshments.
To join the team and to learn about upcoming events, visit http://www.meetup.com/the-lower-mainland-green-team.
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