83 students from the Yorkson Creek Middle School and 17 students from Walnut Grove Secondary School geared up with gloves, tools, and ecological knowledge headed to a Fort Langley trail to make six cubic metres of land free of invasive Himalayan blackberries. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

83 students from the Yorkson Creek Middle School and 17 students from Walnut Grove Secondary School geared up with gloves, tools, and ecological knowledge headed to a Fort Langley trail to make six cubic metres of land free of invasive Himalayan blackberries. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Langley students dig in to clear invasive blackberries

“The area is equivalent to the volume of about 39 bathtubs.”

About 100 students from the Langley School District worked together to clear some North Langley land of invasive Himalayan blackberries.

Made possible through the combined efforts of the Lower Mainland Green Team and the Township of Langley, the outdoor event offered 64 (out of 100 who participated) students their first-ever opportunity to fight the invasive plants.

On Thursday, March 3, 83 students from the Yorkson Creek Middle School and 17 students from Walnut Grove Secondary School geared up with gloves, tools, and ecological knowledge to “make a difference on the local environment in Fort Langley.”

The Grade 6 to 12 students visited the Fort-to-Fort trail for the berry removal project.

When asked about their favourite part about the day, Grade 6 student Rian said “teamwork.” His classmate, Jayden, shared that he enjoyed “the opportunity to work together,” the most.

Another student jumped in and commented that “making friendships along the way and working with nature” was his favourite part.

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Ashton Kerr, program manager at Green Team, said that engaging the youth in environmental action projects with tangible outcomes empowers them to accomplish great things.

“We also increase their connection to each other and the community, as well as the unceded lands we inhabit,” she added.

Focusing on removing root crowns, so the plant doesn’t regrow, the students learned how stubborn these roots could be to remove, why they make it hard for native plants to thrive and how the relatively shallow root system can contribute to soil erosion.

“We were incredibly impressed with the number and size of root crowns that were removed by all of the students,” Kerr commented.

Many critters were found while digging, including worms, centipedes, beetles, snails, and a Northwestern salamander.

Kerr said the students were able to experience the benefits of being out in nature, including improved mental and physical health, and reduced stress levels.

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“By connecting people to nature, especially youth, we help instill responsible environmental behaviour that extends beyond our activities,” she explained.

Kerr thanked school teachers for bringing their students to the outdoor education opportunity. She also expressed her gratitude to Township of Langley staff who joined the students in the activity.

Green Team is a volunteer group for people interested in the environment and nature that holds event throughout the region. For more information, people can visit its website https://greenteamscanada.ca.

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83 students from the Yorkson Creek Middle School and 17 students from Walnut Grove Secondary School geared up with gloves, tools, and ecological knowledge headed to a Fort Langley trail to make six cubic metres of land free of invasive Himalayan blackberries. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

83 students from the Yorkson Creek Middle School and 17 students from Walnut Grove Secondary School geared up with gloves, tools, and ecological knowledge headed to a Fort Langley trail to make six cubic metres of land free of invasive Himalayan blackberries. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

83 students from the Yorkson Creek Middle School and 17 students from Walnut Grove Secondary School geared up with gloves, tools, and ecological knowledge headed to a Fort Langley trail to make six cubic metres of land free of invasive Himalayan blackberries. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

83 students from the Yorkson Creek Middle School and 17 students from Walnut Grove Secondary School geared up with gloves, tools, and ecological knowledge headed to a Fort Langley trail to make six cubic metres of land free of invasive Himalayan blackberries. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

83 students from the Yorkson Creek Middle School and 17 students from Walnut Grove Secondary School geared up with gloves, tools, and ecological knowledge headed to a Fort Langley trail to make six cubic metres of land free of invasive Himalayan blackberries. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

83 students from the Yorkson Creek Middle School and 17 students from Walnut Grove Secondary School geared up with gloves, tools, and ecological knowledge headed to a Fort Langley trail to make six cubic metres of land free of invasive Himalayan blackberries. (Special to Langley Advance Times)