The Burnaby Lake Park Association plays an important role in the park’s upkeep. From counting wildlife to combating weeds, their volunteers contribute countless hours of free labour. Find out why they say it’s a great way to give back to the park.
It’s the first thing people see when they arrive at Burnaby Lake. A beautiful butterfly garden lovingly planted and maintained by members of the Burnaby Lake Park Association. But that’s not all. BLPA volunteers also build and maintain hundreds of nest boxes around the lake.
Joe Sadowski has been involved in the park association since it began. He’s been enjoying bird life on the lake for more than 40 years. Volunteering is his way of giving back.
“The basic reason that I volunteer is because this is an area of great interest to me and it’s a need,” explains Sadowski.
“It’s a lot of fun actually,” says park volunteer Gillian Coats, who lives close by. “Because it’s just really nice to be able to come down and find out what’s going on in the park and to have a sense that we can help the wildlife here, which is really nice.”
“Coming in and helping out and giving back to our community is important. It’s meaningful,” says volunteer Brian Green.
BLPA volunteers are also often seen on the park’s trails, but they are not there for a leisurely stroll. Burnaby Lake park interpreter Melissa Holloway addresses a group of volunteers, who are devoting some time on the weekend to tackling invasive species in the park.
“Good afternoon everyone and welcome to our weed-busting party. Thanks so much for giving up your Sunday afternoon.”
A BLPA volunteer explains why he’s eager to spend time on a weekend wrestling with stubborn plants.
“I grew up around this park and I think it’s really nice that I can do something to help maintain the park and the integrity of the species which live here.”
“Volunteers are key to making Weedbusters happen,” says Holloway. “It’s their initiative to help protect the park. The Burnaby Lake Park Association is a driving force in making this happen. It’s their man-hours and hard work and sweat, and sometimes a little bit of blood if they get too close to the brambles, that really makes this happen.”
Two volunteers dump a wheelbarrow load of pulled-up weeds into the back of a pick-up truck.
“It’s good exercise, lots of fresh air, and helps out the park a little bit I guess,” says one of the volunteers. “But you gotta keep at it, the way this stuff grows, you have to come back year after year.”
The Weedbusters are out pulling invasive species on a regular basis between March and October and their efforts are not inconsequential. During this three hour weeding session the crew removed 610 kg of the plant species called Purple Policeman’s Helmet (Impatiens glandulifera).
Melissa Holloway is grateful for their work.
“I’m really proud of these volunteers, we are fortunate to have a community around Burnaby Lake that cares about this place and wants to ensure that this is accessible to people for many more years.”
Not only cares about it. But cares about it enough to put in endless hours of free labour, pulling weeds, tending bird boxes, taking care of the garden and generally contributing in a positive way to the outdoor experience at Burnaby Lake.