Nine year old Noelani sees wild blackberry bushes growing everywhere in her neighbourhood, and every summer she looks forward to picking and enjoying them. When she heard that her youth group, in the Church of Christ [Iglesia Ni Cristo] would be participating in an INCGiving event to replace invasive plants, she wanted to participate. The motivation behind her interest? She discovered that the very blackberry bushes she had grown to like were one of the invasive plants threatening her city’s rural forests.
In celebration of National Tree Day, she joined her fellow Children’s Worship Service members at Panorama Park in Surrey, British Columbia to participate in Project Releaf. This initiative was launched by the City of Surrey in 1991, and since then over 10,000 plants and shrubs have been planted throughout Surrey’s communities.
Noelani and her fellow volunteers learned that, in order to benefit the habitat in Panorama Park, new native trees and shrubs need to be planted to replace invasive plants. Caitlin McDonald, a representative from the City of Surrey’s Parks Division, demonstrated how to remove the trees and shrubs from their pots and plant them in the earth. Once the demonstration was completed, the attentive volunteers all eagerly got to work. Over the next 90 minutes they worked alongside each other, sharing smiles and laughs and helped each other with tasks.
From novices to experts with green thumbs, from the very young to the more mature, and from individuals to larger families, everyone enjoyed seeing the new trees and shrubs in their new, permanent homes. They all knew that, by each person contributing their small part, as a whole they were making a big impact to help the environment. More than 160 trees and shrubs, namely Douglas Fir, Western Red Cedar, Red Alder, Big Leaf Maple, Osoberry, Salmonberry and Snowberry, were planted, and Caitlin thanked the volunteers for their help and hard work.
“We thought it was a really fun activity and Noelani was happy to help the environment and the community. I felt that we accomplished a lot because we planted 5 trees and plants together, and Noelani was able to learn how nice it feels to work together with her fellow youth to accomplish a goal. We’re proud that the Church of Christ continues to help the community and their fellow man by holding INCGiving events, and we’re just grateful to be able to participate.” – Paul Alegado, Surrey, British Columbia, Canada
Prior to this tree planting activity, Noelani would have been sad to see the blackberry bushes in her neighbourhood removed. It may take some time before that actually happens, but when it does, she’ll know that the environment is better for it, and she won’t miss picking and eating those blackberries so much.
Noelani will remember instead how much she enjoyed planting trees, how proud she felt when she participated with her fellow Church of Christ/Iglesia Ni Cristo members in helping their community and how the new plants will give much needed food and shelter to the Surrey’s wildlife now and for the future. She’ll remember that a little goes a long way.
Contributed by: Myrtle Alegado, Surrey, BC, Canada