Take a hike to plant some trees

Reuben Buerge (left)

Reuben Buerge (left)

More than 600 trees and shrubs were planted in Kanaka Creek Regional Park Thursday morning thanks to some at-risk teens and a desire to do something good for the community.

The third annual tree planting event was held by students and staff from the Take a Hike Youth at Risk Foundation, an alternative adventure-based learning program for at-risk teens based in Vancouver, in conjunction with Metro Vancouver Parks.

Nine different species of shrubs and four species of trees, all native to the area, were planted in a section of the park along 112th Avenue, east of 246th Street. The area is being restored to forest after the demolition of a house.

Representatives from KEEPS and employees from the law firm McCarthy Tétrault also helped in the planting.

The vegetation came from an Earth Week fundraising campaign called ‘Buy a Tree, Help a Teen’. More than 2,250 trees and shrubs were sold raising over $17,000 for the foundation and benefitting three parks in Metro Vancouver; Kanaka Creek Regional Park, Derby Reach Regional Park and Campbell Valley Regional Park.

Part of the curriculum of the Take a Hike Youth at Risk Foundation is volunteer work in a variety of different things, says executive director Jaydeen Williams.

“Since this is an outdoors experience it works well with the Take A Hike philosophy,” she says.

Students in the program have to perform a minimum of 60 hours of community service a year.

Reuben Buerge, 17, couldn’t perform well in mainstream school, because, he admits, he skipped too much and once he fell behind he couldn’t catch up. He enjoys the outdoors aspect of his new school.

“I like that we’re outside. I like that we are benefitting the environment. I like that we are doing something productive,” he says while planting.