Pulling Together premieres educational video while planning for another successful year

February 22, 2023

News release
For immediate release 

Saanich, BC – Saanich’s Pulling Together Volunteer Program celebrated many successes in 2022, and now plans and activities are well underway for 2023 including the launch of a new educational video about community based ecological restoration.  

“The Pulling Together partnership with staff and volunteers provides valuable opportunities and support for the community to steward the Saanich parks they care for deeply” said Councillor and Environment and Natural Areas Advisory Committee Chair Karen Harper. “Our volunteers battle invasive species within the Saanich portion of the Coastal Douglas-fir Zone, the smallest and most at-risk zone in BC.I encourage all park users to watch the eye-opening video to learn about invasives in our region and the stewardship of our wonderful parks system.”

Volunteer stewardship in 2022

In 2022, Pulling Together volunteers contributed 16,000 hours to community-based ecological restoration in Saanich parks. Saanich Parks supported 45 Pulling Together projects with 63 lead steward volunteers, more than 200 registered volunteers, 13 Park Ambassadors volunteers and more than 25 schools and community groups.

Looking ahead in 2023

Parks staff are currently meeting with Pulling Together lead stewards to plan ecological restoration projects in parks across Saanich. These meetings help staff track stewardship by volunteers, determine supports required and find opportunities for the greater community to participate. Staff ensure work site safety, discuss best management practices for removal and disposal, plant identification and any other issues to support volunteers in the field. Pulling Together volunteers work tirelessly to enhance biodiversity, educate the community, help restore ecosystem services and contribute to social well-being through active participation.

Pulling Together highlights

The 45 Pulling Together projects are as diverse as nature itself. From Garry Oak rocky outcrops at Boulderwood Park to lush Douglas Fir forests at Knockan Hill there is work to be done and meaningful opportunities for the community to help. An ongoing project at Haro Woods highlights how ecosystem restoration can engage everyone. The lead steward volunteer and staff are supporting a whole family of schools including preschoolers from Arbutus Day Care and Frank Hobbs Elementary, Arbutus Middle School and Mount Douglas Secondary School to clear invasive species and restore biodiversity in the forest. This project is restoring nature, proving an opportunity to learn and connect the next generation of stewards to the land. 

Watch the video and get involved!

The new educational Pulling Together video is available at Saanich.ca. Watch and learn about the program as well as the invasive species threats to Saanich’s endangered Douglas Fir ecosystem.

Active since 1999, Pulling Together volunteers gather every day of the week in different parks. Work party dates and times are listed in the events calendar at Saanich.ca. Drop-in volunteers are always welcome or you can sign up as an official registered restoration volunteer.

Media contacts:
Alix Link
Manager of Urban Forestry, Natural Areas, and Community Stewardship
250-475-5494 ext. 5544

Megan Catalano
Communications Manager