Volunteer efforts are the driving force behind the Lower Mainland Green Team’s efforts to battle invasive species. See how one woman is using a combination of social media and human power to help keep the local ecosystem thriving and diverse.
Volunteer efforts are the driving force behind the Lower Mainland Green Team. See how one woman is using modern technology and old-fashioned human power to help keep the local ecosystem thriving and diverse.
It’s a rainy Sunday morning. But the weather isn’t stopping Lyda Salatain from marshalling her forces to repel an invasion. She explains to a group of volunteers their task for the day.
“Basically what we are going to be doing is removing 4 different invasive plants.”
The volunteers are part of the Lower Mainland Green Team. On this day they are at Spanish Banks on Vancouver’s West Side, getting ready to improve the ecology of this local park.
“The Lower Mainland Green Team is a group of volunteers from Langley to West Vancouver and everywhere in between,” explains Salatain. “Today we are removing the invasive species ‘Scotch Broom’. We want to make sure we give native plants and trees a chance. You’ll notice that it’s pretty much only Scotch Broom in there because it has out-competed native plants and tree.”
Many of the volunteers are recruited and organized online.
“I use social media to get the volunteers outside,” says Salatain. “So, I’ll post our events on the Meetup (web) site and spread the word about it and then people can go on the site and RSVP and get all the information there. It’s been very effective in engaging people.
Pulling the tenacious Scotch Broom from the ground is hard work, but Salatain believes it has a significant benefit for the local ecosystem.
“Invasive species from my understanding is the second biggest threat to habitat, so removing them helps native species. It’s important for nature to have lots of variety of plants. It’s also important for the people that live here to do it. It’s an opportunity to get reconnected and realize that we are all interconnected – that we are dependent on our ecosystem to sustain us. So, we have to take care of it for it to take care of us.”
Want to volunteer? Visit the Lower Mainland Green Team Meetup page