Invasive Species Council of British Columbia

Volunteer Spotlight: Kathryn Lande

Published: June 15, 2021

Kathryn Lande was working towards a MSc at the University of British Columbia when she began volunteering with ISCBC in the summer of 2020. Kathryn has emerged as a prominent leader in the youth volunteer network, leading various initiatives within her community including garbage clean ups in Kitsilano and management of a Vancouver Green Streets Stewardship project. She is a skilled leader in sustainability and her enthusiasm and passion for protecting BC’s ecosystems and habitats continues to be an inspiration to us all!

Read what Kathryn has to say about the Green Streets project, including challenges, successes and learnings from managing and stewarding a local Vancouver green space.

What advice can you give to stewardship enthusiasts?

Persistence is the name of the game when it comes to making a project like this happen. Whether it’s communicating with the government or landowners, dealing with the bureaucratic roadblocks of grant applications, or even just tracking down the right plants for your garden, it’s bound to take a lot of tries before things finally stick. If you keep at it, everything will come together eventually. 

Tell us about your Green Streets project!

This project started from my search for an opportunity to do some native plant gardening. I began by looking into the Green Streets program because it’s a no-cost way to get a plot anywhere in the city. However, there was only one space available in my neighborhood, and it wasn’t exactly difficult to see why no one wanted it. First of all, it’s gigantic. It also hadn’t been cared for in many years, and most of the plants in the garden were highly established invasive species like English ivy, English holly, Bur chervil, and Himalayan blackberry. On top of that, years of litter had been collecting on the site, making it more of an unpleasant eyesore than a municipal greenspace. Thus, my humble idea of exploring native horticulture grew into a much more ambitious biodiversity restoration project. 

I’ve now had the garden for about six months. In that time, I’ve removed my body weight in English ivy, called 411 to remove waste and biohazards about ten times, and cut down a six foot tall English holly with a camping hatchet and pruning shears. I’ve also received a Greenest City Neighborhood Small Grant from the Vancouver Foundation for garden materials. So far, I’ve used the money to install a variety of native species — Salal, native strawberries, Evergreen huckleberry — in the bare plots which formerly housed invasives. I still have a lot more work to do, but the way the plot looks now compared to last fall is night and day.

Going forward, I plan to add more native species, beautify the space, and create educational signage about biodiversity and invasive species control for the newly refurbished garden’s many visitors. 

Help Protect British Columbia

Are you eager to get outdoors, get active, and get learning? Interested in having a real-world impact on your local community? Our youth volunteers help to protect BC from new and spreading invasive species, by gaining expert knowledge of our local environment and ecosystem, and by taking meaningful action in the field.