Published: April 23, 2021
John joined ISCBC’s volunteer program in the summer of 2020, however, his dedication towards protecting habitats began years before when he first started at the University of Victoria. John is a committed community service leader, providing leadership in invasive species work, prevention and management to his peers and the volunteer team. He was the recipient of the 2021 Together in Action Student Leadership Award, presented at INVASIVES 2021, the Invasive Species Council of BC’s Virtual Forum and AGM.
John recently received a $1,500 Rising Youth Community Service Grant to apply towards a restoration project that he created and led in Victoria, BC. Read what John has to say about recent efforts in Garry oak meadows.
Volunteering for ecological restoration projects is one of my passions. ISCBC encouraged me to lead one with funds gifted by the Rising Youth Microgrant. Being the lead of a project, with financial responsibility, was a great experience. I had to be efficient with the resources I had, asking for donations, or figuring out the most effective use to achieve the project goals. My goals were to restore Garry Oak meadows at the University of Victoria to provide a service to students, the public, all the university community members and the rare ecosystem we know as our home.
My involvement with the grant has been successfully completed and the reception from the community has been fantastic. Students had the chance to safely connect with others during COVID times on a generally weekly basis. Participating in a hands-on project allowed me to share and experience knowledge that may not be taught during my peers’ university degrees.
At the edges of the meadow where shrubs and grassland touch, volunteers were directed to remove encroaching shrubs and invasive herbaceous species to provide room for new native plants that were acquired from Saanich Native Plants nursery. The site is quite remarkable in that the density of native species covered the whole area we worked. Removing invasive plants uncovered native plants buried below and planting additional natives allowed volunteers to intimately know which organisms were a part of the ecosystem. University staff and members of the public who passed by appreciated the work with words of encouragement.
Hopefully, everyone involved felt more connected with nature and may be inspired to start or continue their own projects. I am glad ISCBC encouraged me to complete this project and I look forward to doing more!