April 24, 2012 · Updated 10:21 AM

North Saanich middle school student Chelsea Da Silva snips away at non-native blackberries in Lillian Hoffer Park. / Arnold Lim/News staff

This year marks 10 years of education, restoration and conservation.

With the help of a dedicated army of volunteers, the Peninsula Streams’ contributions to positive change in the environment in a relatively short period of time, is something stewardship coordinator Francesca Loro is proud to have been involved with and proof positive change begins with one person.

“I think for an organization with such a small staff … The work we have been able to accomplish has been pretty spectacular,” Loro said. “We have been really good at working with our different resources and being effective on how we use them.”

From on-the-ground restoration projects including revitalization of Hagen Creek, to educational opportunities delivering environmental programs to local schools including North Saanich middle school, Bayside middle school and Royal Oak middle school – the work is never done.

However, the experience of guiding future generations of environmentally conscious citizens has been a positive experience for the four-year veteran of the society.

“We hope to educate, make [students] aware of their environment and get them involved,” Loro said. “Kids bring the message home to parents and grandparents.”

She believes youth involvement is key to long-term success in their current homes and their future family homes, so initiatives including outdoor restoration projects to remove invasive plant species and releasing salmon fry into local streams are important education opportunities. She is excited by the dedication of students including 11-year-old Chelsea Da Silva, who was snipping non-native blackberries out of Lillian Hoffer park as part of a Peninsula Streams initiative last Friday.

“This is what I like to do because it is fun and helping,” the North Saanich middle school student said. “We live on the earth and we need the earth for us to live.”

Armed with pink pruning shears, the Grade 6 student was adamant that regardless of what she ends up doing as an adult, the environment will always be a consideration for her.


“I like what I am doing and I like saving the world. I live here and I want it to be a special place for everyone who comes here,” she said. “It is also your world, so [you] should keep it the way you got it.”