Youth volunteer planting a tree

Surrey’s Youth Stewardship Squad volunteers care for local parks through hands-on stewardship.

December 14, 2021
Parks & Recreation

Surrey’s Youth Stewardship Squad (SYSS) gives youth ages 13-18 the chance to learn and take action. Youth learn about Surrey's environment and how they can help. In early 2021, youth in Surrey were quick to sign up to help restore and enhance Surrey’s urban forest. This year, more than 195 youth participated. Together, they contributed 970 hours as stewards of local parks. Activities that SYSS members take part in include:

A habitat restoration project at Hazelnut Meadows Community Park was a highlight this year! The Squad removed a large patch of Himalayan blackberry from the site. Himalayan blackberry is a very common invasive plant in Surrey. Through rain and hot summer days, SYSS worked hard to cut back the brambles and dig out roots. Volunteers learned about plant biology, invasive species removal and restoration practices. Over many months, the Squad removed more than 190 bags of invasive plant material. That many bags could almost fill a whole pickleball court!  

Group of youth planting trees in the forest
SYSS youth plant trees and shrubs


As part of the City's Releaf Tree Planting program, volunteers planted over 250 shrubs and trees at the site. Planting native shrubs and trees helps to increase biodiversity. This reduces the likelihood of blackberry taking over the site again. With planting complete, the Squad will start another project in another area of the park. Thank you, SYSS, for your hard work, dedication and passion while caring for our parks.

Learn more about the Surrey Youth Stewardship Squad.

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