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Photos: Volunteers remove invasive Coquitlam blackberry plants — enough to fill 187 bathtubs

Nearly 70 residents of all ages and backgrounds helped rid Burke Mountain's Don Moore Drive trail of Himalayan blackberries, making room for native plants to grow.

It was a job well done by a group of local volunteers dedicated to restore natural habitat, connect with nature and build community.

This past weekend, nearly 70 people gave up their personal time to help remove 30 cubic metres of invasive Himayalan Blackberry plants from a trail on Coquitlam's Burke Mountain during the most recent visit by the Lower Mainland Green Team.

The non-profit organization issued a call for local residents, especially to youth, to conduct the work near the entrance of the Don Moore Drive trail, which began at the cul-de-sac entrance.

By Sunday afternoon (Sept. 11), spokesperson Megan Walker said they chopped off enough that the team could have filled 187 bathtubs with the clippings.

"Despite the difficult terrain, volunteers of all ages, backgrounds and experience levels worked together to remove Himalayan Blackberry from the area," she said to the Tri-City News about the two-day event.

"As an organization with a mission to connect, build and empower diverse communities through hands-on activities that promote health, well-being and environmental stewardship, it was so heartwarming to see so many enthusiastic volunteers making new friends, restoring local ecosystems, and taking action in their community!"

The Himalayan Blackberry can cause harm to local forests, roadsides and streambanks by crowding low-growing vegetation.

According to experts from the Invasive Species Council of BC (ISCBC), the plants can get up to five feet tall with canes stretching 12 metres in whatever direction it chooses.

These plants typically grow on a rapid basis throughout the summer across the Tri-Cities, which leads to several visits by the Lower Mainland Green Team in collaboration with local municipalities.

When the plants are removed, city staff return to the site to plant other types of species more native to the area.

The Green Team is set to return to Coquitlam next month for more invasive plant removal — this time, along the Coquitlam River Trail.

It's set to take place Oct. 2 from 9:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. with interested participants meeting at the entrance along Gabriola Drive.

For more information, you can visit the Green Team's MeetUp page.