A river runs through it

Volunteer Day at A Rocha Brooksdale: Christy Juteau, A Rocha Environmental Stewardship Coordinator (far left) and Trinity Western students Jonathan Chan, Caleb dePutter and Elizabeth Zwamborn. - submitted photo
Volunteer Day at A Rocha Brooksdale: Christy Juteau, A Rocha Environmental Stewardship Coordinator (far left) and Trinity Western students Jonathan Chan, Caleb dePutter and Elizabeth Zwamborn.
— image credit: submitted photo

It’s a peaceful, pastoral setting overlooking a ravine where the Little Campbell River flows. Despite the obvious beauty of the site, there is much work to be done.

On the second Saturday of every month, the A Rocha Canada Brooksdale Environmental Centre opens its doors to volunteers.

As a volunteer, you might find yourself enjoying a number of tasks, including removing invasive plants, transplanting native plants, working in the garden or various other odd jobs. In the process, you will get to know various A Rocha staff members, many of whom live on site, carrying out their calling to care for creation.

A sumptuous lunch is laid out for volunteers at the end of the morning, including some of the fresh produce grown on site.

Volunteers are also offered a tour, which provides an overview of the diverse range of activities of A Rocha at this bucolic spot and throughout the Little Campbell watershed and beyond.

The work of A Rocha encompasses three major themes:  conservation, sustainable living and education. Saturday volunteers get to participate in practical efforts to restore this stretch of the watershed. Already, newly planted trees are beginning to usurp the stream bank formerly occupied by blackberries and reed canary grass.

The A Rocha garden is a CSA (community shared agriculture) that produces a weekly basket of produce for people who purchase shares.

Fresh local food is also provided to needy families and A Rocha staff.

On the February volunteer day, a dozen Trinity Western University students and I experienced the educational facet of A Rocha firsthand. As well as “learning by doing” as we transplanted native plants, we participated in a stimulating discussion on why we should care for creation led by education director, Rick Faw.

The A Rocha educational efforts also involve thousands of school children who visit the site annually, and other adult educational endeavors, such as a new program aimed to increase awareness in churches called “Good Seed Sunday” which is happening for the first time on Earth Day, April 22.

All you have to do to volunteer at the Brooksdale Centre, is to show up at 10 a.m. on the second Saturday of the month with your sleeves rolled up and ready to work.

March 12 is the next opportunity. The Brooksdale Centre is located at 19353 16 Ave, just east of 192 St. If you plan on coming with a group, call A Rocha Brooksdale at 604-542-9006.

David Clements is a professor of Biology and Environmental Studies at Trinity Western University.

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