Eco volunteers help remove invasive species from Sidney Spit park

The Greater Victoria Green Team worked with Parks Canada staff.

Members of Parks Canada and the Greater Victoria Green Team were at Sidney Spit park March 12

A group of eco-volunteers helped rid Sidney Spit park of invasive grasses — and they’re going to do it again and need your help.

The Greater Victoria Green Team worked with Parks Canada staff on Sunday, March 12 to pull European Beach Grass and Scotch broom from its foothold in the park. Team leader Amanda Evans says they do the work in partnership with Parks Canada, adding the next trip to Sidney Spit on March 24 will be the last one for the season.

“It’s a unique way to visit a beautiful place and help restore it and learn about it,” Evans said.

While on the island, Parks Canada staff gave the group of volunteers tips on how to get out the roots of the invasive species, to prevent it from breaking off and spreading later on. Evan said that one root they pulled out was around six feet long.

“Invasive species are quite tenacious and resilient.”

Sidney Spit is part of the Gulf Island National Park system and is only accessible by boat during the spring and summer months. Public transportation to the park is currently closed, making the volunteer worker opportunity one of the only ways to get there at the moment.

The Green Team is one of two in B.C. — the other in the lower mainland. Evans said they are part of the Green Team of Canada charity, whose focus it is to attract volunteers interested in contributing to a variety of environmental programs. She said the local team works with municipalities, conservation groups and federal and provincial parks in a variety of areas.

On the Saanich Peninsula, Evans said the Team works with Peninsula Streams in Central Saanich. On March 25, volunteers will help a different organization at Gowland Tod Provincial Park, doing restoration work at Tod Inlet near Butchart Gardens. She said the Green Team has contributed to other environmental projects in Oak Bay, View Royal and elsewhere in the region. On April 8 and 9, volunteers will be at Mount Doug in Saanich to work there.

The focus of the Green Team, Evans said, is to attract and retain new volunteers who wish to help with environmental issues. The Team, she continued, contributes people to between 60 and 70 programs each year — and volunteering for them is easy.

Evans said people can simply visit, select the closest team and check out the event calendar. Click on one of the events and follow the instructions on what it’s about and how to volunteer.

Their next visit to Sidney Spit on March 24 is from 9:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. and volunteers will be taken there and back by boat. Evans said they will have a bird naturalist joining them, helping teach the volunteers about the ecology of the park.

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