The Sea-to-Sky Clean Air Society will shift their attention to the ground later this month, restoring native plant species to three riparian habitats in the Sea to Sky.
The society is inviting anyone, particularly children, who want to get their hands dirty alongside these natural watercourses to drop by on one of two planned events in both Whistler and Squamish.
“We have to recognize that tourism in Whistler is linked to a wild and natural environment,” said Kim Slater, project manager and executive director of the Sea-to-Sky Clean Air Society. “It’s also really beneficial to get young people out to these sites, to lend a hand, so they have a long-term buy-in and interest in preserving them.”
In Whistler, construction work for the Olympics damaged some of the areas slated for restoration. Work will include the removal of invasive species, while replacing them with plants suited to the sensitive riparian ecology.
“Native trees and plants provide countless ecological and community benefits, from supporting clean air and mitigating climate change, to providing soil stability and habitat for species like the blue listed (at risk) red-legged frog,” Slater added.
The planting of native species is the focus of the Sea-to-Sky Habitat Improvement Project, funded by CN and Tree Canada. Whistler and Squamish were two of the 30 Canadian communities selected for the program, which on the local level will be guided in part by municipal officials to ensure the long-term viability of the project.
Volunteers are invited to participate in one or both events, meeting in Spruce Grove Park in Whistler in front of the field house on Sept. 27, or in front of the Adventure Centre in Squamish on Sept. 29. Participants should dress for the elements and expect to get dirty. Shovels and gloves will be provided.
In addition to planting, educational activities highlighting the importance of trees, air quality and the wetland are also being planned by the Squamish Watershed Society for on Sept. 29 as it coincides with BC Rivers Day.