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Habitat Improvement Team lines up 2012 projects

Volunteer nights tackle projects in the community


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A lot of people talk about the environment, but the Habitat Improvement Team (HIT) does something about it.

Sponsored by Whistler Blackcomb, the team meets every second Tuesday from June 12 until the first Tuesday of September, tackling various projects in cooperation with other community groups.

Volunteers meet at Merlin's in the upper village at 5:45 p.m. and teams work until its dark. Whistler Blackcomb provides vehicles, refreshment and any tools required, although people should take care to wear clothes for working outside.

This year, HIT is taking on a new project, and will spend several volunteer days working in the Ancient Cedars grove in the Soo Valley. That project is a cooperative effort with the Whistler Rotary Club and Whistler Community Forest, with a goal of restoring the natural experience.

Here's the current list of projects:

June 12 - Planting with the Whistler Fisheries Stewardship Group (WFSG). Volunteers will add approximately 550 plants to enhance habitat for song birds, Red Tailed Frogs and Coastal Mountain Black-tailed Deer at Bayly Park in Cheakamus Crossing.

June 26 - The first team will plant mountain ash with the Whistler Black Bear Working Group, providing late-season forage for bears to try and prevent future human-bear conflicts at the end of berry season. The second team will begin trail maintenance and transporting materials to the Ancient Cedars.

July 10 - The team will clear and align the trail in the Ancient Cedars Grove, and place new interpretive signs at the trailhead, on the trail and around the cedars.

July 24 - Romanian Aid project. For several years, Whistler Blackcomb and other community groups have organized aid packages to assist an impoverished alpine region in Romania. This is HIT's only social project, packing a container full of jackets, clothing, educational materials and other gear for shipment to Romania. To date, over 30,000 large winter clothing items have been sent. Other clothing has been sent to Nepal, Kashmiri and Chile.

Aug. 7 - Trail project on Blueberry Hill. Volunteers will to a minor trail realignment and place water bars on the Blueberry Trail connecting Blueberry and Tapley's neighbourhoods.

Aug. 27 - In stream fisheries habitat enhancement with the WFSG. Taking advantage of a window in fish spawning season, crews will reshape and restore fish spawning beds in Crabapple and Gondolas Creeks.

Sept. 4 - Trail maintenance with BC Parks. The crew will assist BC Parks by performing some maintenance on the lower part of Singing Pass trail. Most of this year's work involves improving drainage and cutting back overgrowth.

This year there is a Habitat Improvement Team page on Facebook where projects and pictures will be posted. Everyone is welcome to come out and get their hands dirty for a good cause.


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