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Invasive Pull + Planting – April 6, 2024

Today, we had 23 amazing volunteers gather for our montly Free the Fern Invasive Pull along the Red Alder Trail.

We met at the beautiful Douglas Fir Teaching Garden, our education garden, which is in full bloom with Pacific bleeding heart flowers. Grace Nombrado, our Executive Director, began the event by acknolwedging that we were gathered on the shared, unceded, ancestral territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. Appropriately, we were then suprised by the arrival of Squamish carver, John Spence, and his son Koda. John and Koda are working on carving cedars into a healing circle of seating in the garden.

Everyone was in good spirits as we all introduced ourselves and shared what brought us to Free the Fern. We were happy to welcome 3 new volunteers for their first event with us!

Everyone then got to work removing invasive ivy and Himalayan blackberry. The ivy forms a ground cover choking out native plants, while the Himalayan blackberry grows in a dense, prickly thicket. We piled up or disposed into green bins all the invasive plant material. Together, we managed to remove 1,320 L of invasives!

We then stopped for a well deserved break for a snacks and drinks (thanks to funding provided from Park People). It was a nice opportunity to chat and connect with each other. This is is what really makes our Free the Fern events special – the new friendships and connections that form!

After the break volunteers returned to the trail edge for a bit more invasive removal and also to do some native planting. We have been blessed to receive native plants donations from the City of Vancouver Green Streets, Wild Outside, and Mapleswoods Flats Conservation Area (delivered to us by Nigel Peck with Nature Vancouver). All together we planted 33 plants, which included: woodland strawberry, bitter cherry, western hemlock, black twinberry, blue elderberry, red elderberry, sword fern, and tall Oregon grape.

Thank you to our amazing volunteers for making this event such a success: Alyha, Annette, Barbara, Carla, Catherine, Chinonso, Donna, Ellie, Erin, Erin K, Genevieve, Grace, Jeannine, Liam, Luis, Moira, Roswell, Sylvia, Tom, Veronica, Wylie, and Yasmine.