Invasive Species Council of British Columbia

Volunteer Spotlight: Damian Assadi

What have you been up to in Sparwood park?
DA: The Sparwood park project is all about connecting the community and our urban park spaces. The aim is to provide a model natural space for Champlain Heights, to encourage outdoor education, and to foster future stewards. Invasive Himalayan blackberry was replacing existing salmonberry sites and causing a monoculture in shrub vegetation. Our blackberry invasive pulls in spring 2020 laid the groundwork for community salmonberry replanting in the following year. Other sub-projects include local plant identification and an interactive park map, which double as educational tools.

Can you tell me about the videos you’ve been making?   
DA: Our One Hectare Backyard is a series of education videos that use a stewardship framework to guide exploration of an urban park. This virtual outdoor classroom connects elementary students through short, fun lessons about native species.  

What was the inspiration for the unique style of your videos? 
DA: I created this video series to bridge the gap between environmental education and personal connection. Each topic displays a human touch, presented through a character, a story, nostalgia, or humor. I think this personable education style is memorable when the audience becomes emotionally invested.  

What have you learned as a volunteer and as a leader? 
I volunteer because I enjoy it, and via volunteer leadership, I can communicate my passions hands-on to encourage others. When leading volunteer projects on a timeline, I utilize a strong vision and a solid plan. I learned about the power of persistence and collaboration, which has propelled me past road-bumps in stewardship and video production.  

It doesn’t take anyone special to step forwards and be a leader in volunteering. I am spearheading the Sparwood park restoration simply because I am passionate about my local green spaces.  

A digital illustration of a Brown Creeper, made by Damian for the Our One Hectare Backyard series 

Want to make a difference in your local community?