In Feb 2011, armed with a passion for the environment and organizational skills, Lyda Salatian took a risk and started something new. She phoned park staff in the Lower Mainland of BC and asked if she could organize a group of volunteers to remove invasive plants, plant native plants and trees and pick up litter. They said yes, so dates, activities and meeting locations were arranged and she posted them on the social media site called meetup.com and named the group the Lower Mainland Green Team. She then went about getting the word out. She made a home made sign and asked for a donation of muffins for her first activity. She wondered if she would be the only person standing at that first activity. 23 volunteers showed up and worked hard removing ivy… and they kept coming, one volunteer work party after another. It became a full time job, except she was doing it as a volunteer.
So, two months later she walked into the office of the Pacific Parklands Foundation, a local charity, and asked if she could become a partner to help raise funds to keep going. They believed in her and said yes! Soon after some funding started to trickle in. Since then the Lower Mainland Green Team has grown at an amazing pace and has made a major positive impact on local ecosystems and educated people about the environmental issues parks face. It has grown to almost 3,000 volunteers, won a national award and 3 local awards.
It is because of the volunteers of the Lower Mainland Green Team that Green Teams of Canada was created in October 2013 as a federally registered charity. The first plan of action once charitable status was acquired was to create another green team. The Greater Victoria Green Team was created in 2014 and has been a huge success with already 1,300 volunteer base and two awards.
We connect people to nature, create community, educate in a hands-on way, have fun and encourage people to work together to make change. It’s time to get together and start taking care of our environment! We believe “each of us can make a difference, and together accomplish what might seem impossible” (quote from Wangari Muta Maathai – first environmentalist Nobel Peace Prize winner of 2004).