BCIT receives award for South Wetland Restoration Project

BCIT was awarded a 2021 Environmental Star by the City of Burnaby (the City) for the South Wetland Restoration Project located on the Burnaby campus.

The City’s Environmental Awards Program acknowledges the contributions of select individuals and groups to the advancement of environmental sustainability. BCIT was presented the award in the category of Community Stewardship, for its exceptional commitment to ecological restoration.

The South Wetland Restoration Project (the Project) is the brainchild of Ken Ashley, Director of the BCIT Rivers Institute. Ken, along with staff and students in the BCIT School of Construction and the Environment (SOCE) – including Ecological Restoration (ER), Forest and Natural Areas Management (FNAM), and Fish, Wildlife and Recreation (FWR) programs – built the wetland in September 2020 as part of a three-day field course. The students would normally travel to Logan Lake in the BC Interior for this hands-on program component, but the trip was cancelled due to COVID-19.

A group of 24 undergraduate and six graduate-level students worked in teams to transform an empty space into a vibrant ecological hub. They moved rocks, monitored ground water levels, removed invasive plants, and planted seedlings, and all with strict COVID-19 protocols in place.

Thanks to the hard work and ingenuity of Ken and SOCE students, the wetland is now a biodiversity hotspot ripe with birds, amphibians, insects, and plants.

The space also serves as a permanent ‘living lab’ where students can gain valuable skills and knowledge without leaving campus. And from a social perspective, the community now has an interactive outdoor space where they can immerse themselves in nature.

The City recognized the work of several individuals and organizations for the 2021 Environmental Awards Program, across six categories.

A big congratulations to Ken Ashley, the Rivers Institute, and to all BCIT students and staff involved in the Project, for their remarkable achievement.

Learn more about how BCIT is fostering sustainability in its curriculum and programs.

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