Trail Building Day at CapU

Learn to build a sustainable trail and help replant the wetlands on the beautiful North Shore campus.

Students, faculty and members of the Capilano University community are invited to come out and help build a sustainable trail on March 28. “We want to build a trail that celebrates the ecological, cultural and sustainability values and practices on campus,” said Rachel Clearwater, a biology coordinator.

Volunteers will be guided by six student team leaders that have been trained by Ted Tempany, a professional trail builder. “I think it will be a great learning experience. So, if you have a lot of knowledge about sustainability that you can share with others, or if you have none, all are welcome so that we can share that,” said Sofia Paco, the student project manager who is working with Rachel Clearwater to make the CapU campus more sustainable.

During the shift, volunteers will be linking existing trails to create a loop that connects different areas of interest on campus. Some of the linked areas will include  the community garden, the wetland, the forests and the Seymour Greenway. Apart from the actual trail, volunteers will be able to help with signage, bird nesting boxes and planting. Jo-Ann Cook, of CapU Facilities, will be leading the pulling of invasive species. After, there will also be a replanting of native wetland plants to help restore the wetland.

The trail building project was proposed in December 2017 as part of the Great Ideas Fund created to celebrate Capilano University’s 50th anniversary. “The idea behind the project was to create a trail around campus for people to enjoy, something that people could go around when they had a 10 or 15 min break between classes, just to get out in nature and appreciate some of the amazing habitat that we have right here on campus,” said Clearwater.

Many departments around campus will benefit from the new sustainable trail and the learning spaces it creates. Outdoor classrooms for labs and activities associated with courses in Biology, Outdoor Recreation, Ecology, Geography, the Arts or Early Childhood Care and Education will be able to conduct their studies in an outdoor setting. Film students will be hired  in May, to create interpretive videos to support the trail which will involve compiling stories from different faculty and indigenous knowledge holders. who use the spaces along the trail.

“We want to have a trail that is going to have as little negative ecological impact as possible and that is going to be sustainable and won’t erode and get washed away,” said Clearwater. The trail will be built so that it drains well and does not damage the surrounding tree roots and vegetation. “It’s a sustainable trail  in a sense that it is being designed and built to meet the needs of the various classes that use the natural spaces on campus every year and to protect and restore the biological wealth of campus. We’ve been consulting with other faculties to make sure that we’re not disturbing the wetland or the breeding of the birds,” said Paco.

The North Shore Mountain Bike Association, a local organization that builds trails in Mount Seymour area, supports this project. To do their bit, they are sending volunteers and representatives who are enthusiastic and ready to share their knowledge and passion for building multi-use trails that increase connectivity in the region. Earthworks, an on-campus collaboration between faculty, students and staff that organize sustainability focused events, guest speakers, films and workshops at CapU also support the project. Representatives from various departments at the school are backing the project as well, including Facilities, Outdoor Recreation, Early Childhood Care and Education, Geography, Human Kinetics and others.

Anyone interested in volunteering can sign up and choose a shift on Eventbrite by searching for “Cap50 trail,” the shifts start at 11:30 am, 1:30 pm or 2 pm on March 28. There will be free pizza, and t-shirts. It will be a fun time to get everyone outside and involved in the making of the trail. “We’ve tried to make this process as collaborative as we can, so that we get a trail that meets the needs of all the different groups and departments on campus and is as ecologically sustainable and as well-build as possible,” said Clearwater.

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