Invasive Species Council of British Columbia

Volunteer Voice: English ivy Pull on Trial Island

UVic ERC Volunteers on site for English ivy removal on Trial Island

By Matthew Nettle | July 11th, 2022

The Invasive Species Council of BC counts on the support of a passionate team of youth volunteers to aid in protecting British Columbia’s biodiversity. Last fall, dedicated volunteer Matthew Nettle headed out to Trial Island with the UVic Ecological Restoration Club to participate in an English ivy pull and help to restore the area to its native balance. Matthew shared his wonderful reflections of the day and his experience as a volunteer with us below.

“On Saturday September 18, 2021 I had the privilege of visiting Trial Island with the UVic Ecological Restoration Club (ERC). The forecast had called for rain, but we were greeted with a clear, sunny morning. After a short boat ride, we spotted some seals who were sunning on the rocks near the beach. Upon arrival we got right to work, there is one patch of ivy left on the island after extensive efforts have been made to restore the ecology there over the years. I asked how the ivy would have ended up there and was told it is likely a result of birds bringing the berry seeds from the mainland.

Volunteers clearing English ivy on Trial Island, BC

We had a nice lunch break on the beach. I enjoyed watched the ducks pop in and out of the surface of the water. We also spotted a sea lion which I had never seen before, they are huge! After a couple more hours of work the Ecological Warden of the Island, Matt Fairbarns, took us for a nature walk around the island where we learned about some of the rare species to be found there. I was humbled to learn that some of the rarest species not only in the country but in the world are found on Trial Island. That knowledge made me proud to be a part of the project. Pulling ivy isn’t easy, but everyone there knew we were contributing to a worthy cause.

We had one last treat before the day was over, as we arrived back at the marina in Oak Bay we saw a pair of orcas swimming around the harbour! It was the perfect ending to a magical day and it inspired me to return the following spring to continue this important work.

Special thanks to John Kang for organizing the event! John is a fellow ISCBC volunteer and a great leader in the local ecology restoration community.

Volunteers clearing English ivy on Trial Island

Why do I volunteer?

What inspired me to take action was an interest in learning new skills and gaining practical experience in the field. I learned that ISCBC offers many education and training opportunities, all for free! Through the workshops, webinars and dialogue sessions I am able to learn in a way that accommodates my schedule, because there are so many different opportunities. When I am able to attend an event in-person, such as the Trial Island day, meeting new people and finding a sense of community is what I enjoy most about volunteering.”

We thank Matthew for his volunteer work both with ISCBC and other organizations that share our mission to protect BC’s biodiversity and stop the spread of invasive species!

If Matthew’s story inspired you to get involved, click the link below to join our volunteer team!