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Preserving historic lands has been this Coquitlam group's ambition for 30 years

Through guided tours and events, the Riverview Horticultural Centre Society is continuing to educate the public on the environment and landmarks that make up the famous səmiq̓ʷəʔelə lands.

It's been three decades since a dedicated group of individuals decided to take the task of preservation and education for the one of Coquitlam's most sacred sites.

Next month, the Riverview Horticultural Centre Society (RHCS) is set to celebrate its milestone and accomplishments of guided tours, government talks and growing community.

The group is hosting a free 30th anniversary event at Douglas College's Coquitlam campus next weekend.

In an email to the Tri-City News, the RHCS said the afternoon gathering will feature special presentations of the group's success, as well as "outstanding specimens" that make up the səmiq̓ʷəʔelə/Riverview Lands.

Spokesperson Nancy Furness added group members of past and present are also set to be recognized for their hard work on educating the public on the 244-acre site.

"The Place of the Great Blue Heron," translated from Indigenous language, previously served as a home to patients at the Riverview Hospital (formerly Essondale) beginning in 1913.

It opened in 1913, but closed a century later in 2012.

The property is known for its lush beauty are there are more than 1,800 tree specimens, including some of the first natives and exotics in B.C. dating back to the site’s initial development in the early 1900s.

The trees at Riverview are the result of a number of influences, including a succession of committed planners, arborists and gardeners, coupled with access to seeds and plants from around the world.

Early construction of the hospital saw the addition of a botanical nursery, which produced ornamental trees for use in landscaping around highways and public, according to a public document about the tree collection.

"Support for preservation of the lands from the public, the horticultural community, environmental groups and government representatives has been generated through the work of members past and present," said Furness, who notes the RHCS hosts free tours in the spring, summer and fall seasons.

The society's 30th anniversary celebration is scheduled for Dec. 3 from 1 to 3 p.m. inside lecture theatre A1470 at Douglas College (1250 Pinetree Way).

Douglas Justice, associate director of UBC's botanical garden, is set to speak during the free two-hour gathering, which will also include cake and beverages.

For more information or to RSVP, you're encouraged to email [email protected].