Last week, the Outreach team met with The Road Less Traveled, a U.S.-based youth travel adventure group that offers impactful experiences for young people. We worked with 3 leaders and 11 youths to remove a dense patch of Himalayan Balsam growing in Valleycliffe.
The Road Less Traveled participants were excited to learn about invasive species growing in BC, and curious to relate them to plant species they had observed at home. Some youth (and leaders) had never been to BC before and were also interested in learning about the native plants growing in the area. We even found some native, edible berries growing near the patch of Himalayan Balsam, so a few youths had the chance to try salmonberry for the first time!
The group shared interesting stories about invasive species growing in the regions they are from and learned how to identify a few common invasive species in the Sea to Sky region. Together, we discussed the potential impacts of invasive species on the environment, the economy, and human health. After giving some context to the purpose of our weed pull, the group got to work removing Himalayan Balsam.
It was a beautiful (albeit hot) day in Squamish, and everyone was eager to help make a difference through their volunteer work.
The participants worked quickly and efficiently, organizing themselves into several smaller teams. Some participants were deep in the bushes pulling out Himalayan Balsam roots, while others helped by transporting the plant material out to the path and placing it into garbage bags. Talk about teamwork!
A few brave participants even donned gloves and used loppers to trim away a dense patch of prickly Himalayan Blackberry so that everyone could access and remove the Himalayan Balsam hidden behind the bushes. The group did a very effective and thorough job.
After 2 dedicated hours of pulling Himalayan Balsam and removing Himalayan Blackberry, we had 12 bags of plant material, which weighed an impressive 150kg!
The group was also very proud to showcase the tallest stem of Himalayan Balsam they removed, which was taller than nearly all the participants. Don’t they look proud of their work?
Thank you to the Road Less Traveled staff, trip leaders and participants for collaborating with us! We had so much fun and appreciated all the important work everyone put into removing Himalayan Balsam.