This week Chris Ma and Brady Sprague from Saint George’s Senior School interviewed Krista, the PSPS Program Coordinator. Here are parts of those interviews:
Chris: When you were an adolescent, what organization did you volunteer for? Did you do anything more than volunteering?
Krista: As an adolescent growing up in Winnipeg, Manitoba I volunteered at a retirement home. I visited the residents and led bingo events. I really enjoyed getting to know many of the residents and hearing some great stories. Aside from my volunteer work, I did lots of babysitting in my neighbourhood.
Brady: What animals do you notice in the park when you’re out walking?
Krista: Pacific Spirit Regional Park has a huge variety of birds because of the range of ecosystems represented. The wetlands, streams, forests, meadows and shorelines all provide important habitat for both year round resident birds and migrating birds. We also frequently see salamanders in the forests and salmon fry in the streams.
Brady: In your mind, what impacts do these animals have on the park?
Krista: The birds spread seeds throughout the park, which can have both positive and negative impacts on the park. Birds help maintain native plant biodiversity and encourage forest growth when they spread native plant seeds. However, birds also spread invasive plants seed throughout the park. That is one reason why it is so important for PSPS and local gardeners to remove invasive plants from the park and their yards.
Brady: What do you notice about the way people treat the park?
Krista: I notice that most people make efforts to care for the park by picking up after their dogs, reporting invasive plants or fallen logs, staying on the trail and not harvesting the vegetation. However, I see evidence that some people explore off trail, let their dogs off leash in environmentally sensitive areas or leave their dog waste along the trail. Even though only a small percent of park users don’t follow the park rules, it has a big environmental impact.
Brady: Why is it important to remove invasive plants from our parks?
Krista: Invasive plants have no natural competition in the areas where they are introduced. The pests, diseases and plant diversity in their origin country all help to keep nature in balance. When there are no diseases or pests to help keep the balance, these introduced plants spread very fast and take over large areas of the park. This reduces the amount of space, light and nutrients for other plants.
Chris: How can I contribute to PSPS if I do not have time to volunteer?
Krista: If you do not have time to volunteer, you can spread the word about the importance of park etiquette, such as staying on the trails, keeping dogs on leash in environmentally sensitive areas and cleaning up after your dog in the park. Also donations are always welcome to help run our programs!
Brady: What keeps you motivated to continue helping the park?
Krista: Seeing the dedication and enthusiasm of the volunteers is the biggest motivation for me!