Kyler Noppen uses all of his weight to pull a piece of invasive English ivy from a tree on Little Mountain on Thursday, May 27, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Kyler Noppen uses all of his weight to pull a piece of invasive English ivy from a tree on Little Mountain on Thursday, May 27, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Chilliwack kids help forest by removing invasive English ivy from Little Mountain

Group of Grade 4/5 students have hiked up mountain twice to rip out the invasive plant

A small, quiet mountain in Chilliwack has been getting a lot of attention lately from a group of Grade 4 and 5 students who are helping protect native plants and animals from an invasive species of ivy.

The Little Mountain elementary kids in Caelah Merrick’s class trekked up Little Mountain on May 13 and again on May 27 to remove invasive English ivy from trees in the forested area.

“As a class we have been learning about how all living things respond to their environment, including invasive species,” Merrick said. “With May being Invasive Species Action Month we thought it would be great to give the class a hands-on opportunity to see the impact of invasive species.”

With huge shears in hand, the kids snipped and ripped out large chunks of ivy wrapped around Douglas fir trees.

Kamille Brown removes invasive English ivy from a tree on Little Mountain on Thursday, May 27, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Kamille Brown removes invasive English ivy from a tree on Little Mountain on Thursday, May 27, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Grade 4 and 5 students from Little Mountain elementary remove invasive English ivy from trees and plants on Little Mountain on Thursday, May 27, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Grade 4 and 5 students from Little Mountain elementary remove invasive English ivy from trees and plants on Little Mountain on Thursday, May 27, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

“It’s really great to get out of the classroom. There’s a lot more engagement. They ask a lot more questions, there’s a lot more dialogue, you get to know them,” Merrick said.

Steve Clegg, environmental service specialist with the City of Chilliwack, and Dr. Marc Greidanus who helps build and clean up trails throughout Chilliwack’s forests have also joined the kids.

Merrick used to teach at Kwíyeqel secondary school (formerly the Ed Centre) and has worked with Greidanus in the past when Merrick’s teenaged students helped build trails at Lewx Qwò:m Park.

READ MORE: Clearing a path to outdoor learning in a Chilliwack forest

Over the past year, since schools opened up again, Merrick’s Little Mountain students have been doing a lot of hikes and have been focusing more on outdoor education.

“We noticed there was a need for helping along the trails,” Merrick said.

So he reached out to Greidanus who brought Clegg on board, and by May 13 the three adults and 17 kids were up on Little Mountain removing the ivy.

“Dr. Greidanus, Mr. Clegg and I were truly amazed with how hard they worked last time,” Merrick said as they hiked up the hill to the top of Little Mountain on May 27.

Another benefit is the students then bring what they’ve learn home and start removing the ivy from their own backyards, Dr. Greidanus added.

Steve Clegg, environmental service specialist with the City of Chilliwack, helps Aeon McCrea remove invasive English ivy from trees on Little Mountain on Thursday, May 27, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Steve Clegg, environmental service specialist with the City of Chilliwack, helps Aeon McCrea remove invasive English ivy from trees on Little Mountain on Thursday, May 27, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Grade 4 and 5 students from Little Mountain elementary removed invasive English ivy from trees and plants on Little Mountain on Thursday, May 27, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Grade 4 and 5 students from Little Mountain elementary removed invasive English ivy from trees and plants on Little Mountain on Thursday, May 27, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

The kids didn’t just learn about how ripping out the English ivy saves trees and other plants, but how it helps protect animals as well.

“English ivy kills the trees, which means birds have nowhere to make nests. The birds can die as a result of the ivy, too,” wrote four students who worked on their assignment together.

In between bouncing from tree to tree and untangling their trunks from the ivy, the kids could be seen crouching down on the trails, their fingers poking gently through twigs and damp leaves in search of animals.

On both trips, they found endangered Oregon forestsnails. Clegg taught them that those snails love to eat stinging nettles, a native plant that can also get strangled and die from invasive English ivy.

They also got excited when they found other native species like salmon berries and the cyanide millipede.

Grade 4 and 5 students from Little Mountain elementary also found the endangered Oregon forestsnail (right, dark brown shell) on Little Mountain on Thursday, May 27, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Grade 4 and 5 students from Little Mountain elementary also found the endangered Oregon forestsnail (right, dark brown shell) on Little Mountain on Thursday, May 27, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Grade 4 and 5 students from Little Mountain elementary also found several cyanide millipedes on Little Mountain on Thursday, May 27, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Grade 4 and 5 students from Little Mountain elementary also found several cyanide millipedes on Little Mountain on Thursday, May 27, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

For the kids to know they’re helping the forest and animals, in addition to getting exercise has been rewarding, Merrick said.

“It was a really rich learning experience for them to have that hands-on learning in their community… and it’s helped them with their writing,” he said, adding the kids were excited to write about their experience afterwards.

“What a perfect month for us to restore the forest to its beautiful self,” student Jackson Sepass wrote in his assignment. “It was so much fun cutting up the ivy and saving the trees.”

Being outside gives them a sense of respect for the animals, something they might not have had simply by looking at a book or a piece of paper. They might forget what they’ve learned when they see a picture of a snail but “when Mr. Clegg was talking to them about the Oregon forestsnail they got to hold it and know that this is an endangered species,” Merrick said.

The outdoor classroom opened his eyes to something else, too.

“Some of the kids that have the most struggles in the classrooms are the superstars when they’re here. They really find themselves and feel a sense of accomplishment and success,” Merrick said. “They enjoy giving back.”

Grade 4 and 5 students from Little Mountain elementary remove invasive English ivy from trees and plants on Little Mountain on Thursday, May 27, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Grade 4 and 5 students from Little Mountain elementary remove invasive English ivy from trees and plants on Little Mountain on Thursday, May 27, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Grade 4 and 5 students from Little Mountain elementary move a log off to the side on Little Mountain on Thursday, May 27, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Grade 4 and 5 students from Little Mountain elementary move a log off to the side on Little Mountain on Thursday, May 27, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Dr. Marc Greidanus helps guide a Little Mountain elementary Grade 4/5 class as they remove invasive English ivy from trees and plants on Little Mountain on Thursday, May 27, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Dr. Marc Greidanus helps guide a Little Mountain elementary Grade 4/5 class as they remove invasive English ivy from trees and plants on Little Mountain on Thursday, May 27, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Grade 4 and 5 students from Little Mountain elementary gather their backpacks and move on to a different location while removing invasive English ivy from trees and plants on Little Mountain on Thursday, May 27, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Grade 4 and 5 students from Little Mountain elementary gather their backpacks and move on to a different location while removing invasive English ivy from trees and plants on Little Mountain on Thursday, May 27, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)


 

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on?
Email: jenna.hauck@theprogress.com
Twitter: @PhotoJennalism

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

City of ChilliwackEnvironmentOutdoors

Just Posted

Rachel is a six month old Labrador retriever cross who was found at large. She is seen here at the Chilliwack SPCA on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Find Me My Furever Home – Rachel at the Chilliwack SPCA

6-month-old puppy found at large, now at Chilliwack SPCA, needs special home

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Volunteers will gather at South Gate Shopping Centre on Fathers Day before fanning out to help clean up downtown Chilliwack. (Facebook photo)
Kindness Chain Chilliwack Association organizes Fathers Day cleanup

Volunteers will spend 90 minutes fanning out to gather trash in downtown Chilliwack

Folks look through some of the items for sale during the Voice of Hope giant garage sale at 7350 Barrow Rd. in Chilliwack on Saturday, June 19, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Giant garage sale today in Chilliwack supports Kenyan widows, orphans

Funds go to Chilliwack-based Voice of Hope charity to improve quality of life for impoverished Kenyans

Ben Holwerda of the Chilliwack Spartan Swim Club competes in a swim meet at the Landing Leisure Centre on Feb. 12, 2011. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Chilliwack Landing Leisure Centre to close temporarily for scheduled maintenance

Pools, steam room, and sauna at Landing Leisure Centre closing for maintenance July 19 to Sep. 4

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Surrey Fire Service battled a dock fire along the Fraser River late Friday night (June 18). It was on Musqueam Drive, near Industrial Road, around 10:45 p.m. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
VIDEO: Fire engulfs pier on Surrey side of the Fraser River

Dock has reportedly been unused for a long time

Most Read