Riverside teachers Mr. Brian Chan and Ms. Sheri Thomasen collaborate to teach two groups of students Humanities. Chan does the Social studies 10 portion and Thomasen does the Literary studies portion. On October 30, the classes went to Gates Park and removed invasive plants.

Students getting ready to dig up invasive plants.

Green Teams Canada is an organization with a mission “to inspire stewardship of nature by connecting diverse individuals through hands-on educational environmental activities.” Green Teams Canada reached out through an email to staff asking if anyone had a group of students who would be interested in taking part in an opportunity to help remove invasive plants in the local environment.

Thomasen and Chan took on this opportunity as it was relevant to what they are learning in class. “We thought it would be a nice idea to go and do some civic engagement. We talk a lot about making a difference and now we had the opportunity to do it,” said Thomasen. This experience gave the students the opportunity to collaborate as a team and learn more about climate change and how it impacts the local community.

Change takes action as opposed to something called Slacktivism. Slacktivism is the “practice of supporting a social cause by means such as social media or online petitions, characterized as involving very little effort or commitment.” It doesn’t have any impact on real-life social outcomes, and it really only serves to increase the feel-good factor of participants.

Taking a much-needed break.

Before this field trip grade 10, Caitlyn Chan didn’t realize how important it is to have people in our community doing jobs such as removing harmful and invasive plants, and how much of a great learning experience this field trip was. “I learned more about invasive species, as well as got the chance to experience what it’s like to make a change in your own community even if it’s not something huge. My friends and I were talking about how we worked so hard to get rid of the plants, but we were all really happy with the outcome,” said Chan.

Change starts small and builds its way up; it may not seem like something small can make an impact, but every little action adds up and can contribute to making a huge difference.