Greenways Volunteers Make Environmental Restoration a Reality

“Encouraging stewardship in the community is so important. And I think we do a good job of making environmental stewardship accessible to everyone.”

Greenways Land Trust is a charity and conservation organization that conducts and coordinates environmental conservation and restoration work throughout Campbell River.

If you visit Campbell River and walk the trails in the forest or estuary, you’re seeing the culmination of decades of work from passionate locals. Greenways Executive Director Katie Lavoie says that at its heart, the organization is a grassroots community effort made up of people who value and care for the environment.

Photo credit: pacific_west_coast_, Instagram

Streamkeepers and Adopt-a-Trail

Stream and land stewardship are central to Greenways’ mission. Volunteer streamkeepers look after urban streams and creeks within Campbell River. Their work helps gather information on fish populations and contributes to watershed management.

The Adopt-a-Trail program in the Beaver Lodge Lands connects volunteers to a dedicated trail, which they are responsible for maintaining for extended periods of time.

Travel Tip: Katie suggests visitors make a stop at one of the local hatcheries to learn about fish life cycles and the importance of protecting urban streams.

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Estuary Restoration and Invasive Species Removal

Over the last several years, Greenways and their partner organizations have played a crucial role in revitalizing the Campbell River estuary. This sensitive habitat had been damaged by industry and human impact, but thanks to restoration efforts, native plants and wildlife are returning.

Ongoing projects include invasive species removal, endangered plant species mapping, and observing wildlife for research purposes.

Photo credit: ern.cliffe, Instagram

Photo credit: ern.cliffe, Instagram

Conservation and Stewardship: A Community Effort

Greenways has been bringing Campbell River locals together for 26 years to protect and restore the environment. Katie observes that climate change means the organization is continually learning how to adapt their restoration work. They’re always learning more about the ecosystem and investing in new ways to engage the community, from school programs to food security work.

“Acknowledging that there’s always work to do in environmentalism and continuing to try even though we will never be done is important,” says Katie.

She hopes volunteers take away a sense of stewardship and responsibility for the environment so that they can share their learnings within the community and pass the information about how to get involved onto others.

How can visitors help?

There are several ways to be a considerate visitor when you explore the natural beauty of Campbell River.

First, it’s important to stay on designated trails.

“I know that wandering off the beaten path is kind of romanticized. But if you’re not familiar with the ecosystem, you could be trampling critical habitat,” says Katie.

The same goes for dogs! Locals and visitors alike need to keep their dogs from running through creeks as this can also negatively impact the ecosystem.

What about wildlife photography? Katie says people can get the photos they want without disturbing the wildlife. That means keeping a good distance from wild animals and treating them with respect. Any photos you share to social media or for promotional purposes should demonstrate responsible visitor behaviour. Don’t show people places they can’t safely access or wildlife interactions that could be harmful for both animals and humans.

Get involved with Greenways

Greenways’ volunteer network within the Campbell River community is vibrant and diverse. The work is never finished and newcomers are always welcome.

“People getting involved when they’re traveling sounds awesome. And getting to know not just the people and the culture, but also the land that they’re traveling on is great,” says Katie.

Are you interested in learning more or volunteering with Greenways Land Trust? Register via their website or keep an eye on their Facebook page for opportunities and updates. If you’d like to support their conservation and restoration work financially, donations can be sent here.