The Road Less Traveled offers travel and impactful experiences for youth. They aim to “facilitate life-changing experiences that foster personal growth (…) through travel to new places, meaningful service, and stewardship of the natural world”.
One of their groups spent a few days in the Sea to Sky (as part of a two-week trip in coastal BC), so we partnered with the Squamish River Watershed Society to offer them a half day of invasive plant removal in Valleycliffe, combined with interpretation, observation and discovery in the Squamish Estuary.
The group was comprised of 9 youth aged 11-14, accompanied with 3 trip leaders. Their backgrounds and hometowns may have been diverse, but they shared a desire to lend a helping hand, and a keen sense of curiosity about their environment.
After explaining to them the potential impacts that invasive species can have on the local ecosystem, and sharing experiences with invasives, the group was put to work on a dense patch of Himalayan Balsam in Valleycliffe. They had their work cut out for them!
The participants quickly organized themselves into several teams, and each individual seemingly naturally found their role. While some preferred to be at the forefront and pull up the invasive Balsam shoots (which often towered over them!), others were happy to send a supporting hand and place the plants into garbage bags, or feed those bags back to the roadside.
In the end, the group from the Road Less Traveled pulled up enough plants to fill 17 garbage bags – a total of 220 kg!
Thanks to the Road Less Traveled staff, trip leaders and participants for the opportunity – it was a pleasure working with you. Here’s hoping we can collaborate again in the future!