Invasive Species Removal

Royal Heights Green Superheroes!

Royal Heights Elementary
  • Grade 3
  • Grade 4
Video Project (1 video)

Community Coach(es): 

City of Surrey

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Royal Heights Green Superheroes

Did you know that invasive species spread? The Royal Heights Green Superheroes have been learning about the harmful and helpful qualities of the Himalayan Blackberry bush. We discovered that invasive species are taking over our park path, so we decided to cut, pull and dig out the Himalayan Blackberry bush. The Himalayan Blackberry bushes take over spaces by hogging all the water and nutrients which means trees and plants native to our community don’t get any nutrients. Removing this invasive species will create more room for the animals and trees, as well as more space for us to walk and play in the park. By doing this work, we are helping the environment. We also are making room for everyone in our community including the plants and animals. Clearer paths mean more walks for us and a clean habitat for animals and plants.

The purpose of our project is to save the plants native to our community and have more space so that we can plant even more native plants like snowberry and salmonberries. We want to do our part and help the environment, so Division 5 decided to take action and remove the Himalayan Blackberry bush. Although the Himalayan Blackberry bush is invasive and harmful to the native plants and trees in British Columbia, Division 5 learned that it can also be useful. Through our research we learned that the leaves can be used to make paper. We also discovered that the Himalayan Blackberry bush can be used to make clothing and baskets. From the berries, people can make jellies, jams and even skin care products.

Our project is to pull out all of the invasive Himalayan Blackberry bushes near our school community at Royal Heights Park. As a team, we walk to the park and try to do this project at least two times a month. The Royal Heights Green Superheroes started this project in October 2019 and are still continuing to remove the invasive blackberry bush. When our class goes out to pull the invasive species, we usually spend about 2 hours at the park digging up roots and cutting branches. This is hard work, but we feel like superheroes each time we go down to the park to remove the blackberry bushes. With the help of the City of Surrey, teachers, educational assistant and parent volunteers, as a team we are able to work together to make a difference in our community.

On our first day at Royal Heights park, Division 5 met Kary, an amazing individual who works with the City of Surrey. Kary shared her knowledge with us and taught us how to identify the Himalayan Blackberry bush. We had to work hard to become familiar with the blackberry bushes so that we always pull out the right plant. Kary showed us that an adult blackberry bushes leaves are grouped together in clusters of five. If the blackberry bush is young it will have clusters of three leaves. Kary also told us that blackberry bush leaves will be darker green on top and underneath they will be a light green color. Kary also worked hard to show us how to use the tools properly. Some of the tools we use are loppers, shovels, and snips. We always have to wear protective gloves to keep our hands from getting pricked. Removing the Blackberry bushes is hard work, but as a team Division 5 perseveres and never gives up!

As a class we wanted to do as much as we could to help our local park. We made it our goal to remove all of the Himalayan Blackberry bushes in the area designated by the City of Surrey. It is a big area, but our goal is to cut more and more each time we go to Royal Heights Park. Division 5 can achieve this goal by being focused, staying on task and working together as a team.

Pulling out the invasive species is hard work. Division 5 faces many challenges each time we go down to Royal Heights Park. When we are trying to cut the thick branches, it is very hard for one person to do it alone, so we support one another and work together to use the lopper to trim down the thick branches. It is also very challenging cutting the branches to be a ruler length in size before putting it into the leaf bag. Sometimes our classmates accidentally hit our teammates when trying to cut down the branches. Even though trimming branches and pulling the branches out is difficult, we try to work together as a team, and it makes us feel good. One time, a few of us were trying to cut some branches that were on a hill and we ended up falling down the hill because it was slippery and muddy, but we got back up and continued our job.

Even though this work can be difficult, we are motivated to continue this project because we know that we are helping our environment. Through our project, we were able to teach our parent volunteers about the ways in which the Himalayan Blackberry bushes can harm our community. Together, with the parent volunteers we work to remove these bushes. Our project is beginning to have an impact on our community because our parents can see how important this work is to Division 5. We can see that our hard work is making a difference because the space in our park where there was once a ton of blackberry bushes is now a patch of dirt because we have removed a lot of the bushes. As a class, we hope to continue this project and will continue to share our research and learning with other classes in our school community. We believe it is important to teach others about our environment and the things we can do to support our community including trees, plants, animals and humans. Now go out there and be a ROYAL HEIGHTS GREEN SUPERHERO!