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hit team

Whistler is about to get HIT again this summer. HIT is the Habitat Improvement Team, a community-based, action-oriented group of volunteers dedicated to improving fish and wildlife habitat in Whistler. HIT is co-ordinated by the Whistler-Blackcomb Planning and Environmental Resource team, which is headed up by Arthur DeJong. DeJong dreamed up the HIT program last summer, when volunteers spent evenings working on projects such as stream cleanup, improving fish habitat, tree planting, reducing erosion through drainage on hiking and mountain biking trails, removing harmful vegetation and general cleanup. One night a week volunteers meet at the bottom of the Wizard chair on Blackcomb before heading out for a project. This summer’s projects will selected from requests by the Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment, the Whistler Fish Stewardship Group, the Whistler Bear Task Team, the Jennifer Jones Foundation, the municipality and the Whistler Demonstration Forest Committee. "It’s not glamorous work," DeJong says, "but hopefully it helps integrate community environmental groups and gets people working shoulder to shoulder." The idea is to encourage people to take ownership, to make a commitment to the place they live — to take the time to pick up a piece of litter when they come upon it, DeJong says. "We as a community are accountable to the entire resort," he says. "I hope this will help build community relationships." DeJong recognizes that for some people who work outside all the time, volunteering for HIT may not sound so attractive. "But for people with an environmental passion who work at a desk all day, this is a chance to actually get some things done." Following the work parties there will be refreshments and a debriefing. The first session is Tuesday, June 8. Other projects will be tackled on June 15, 22, July 5, July 20, Aug. 3, Aug. 17, Aug. 31 and Sept. 7. To register call DeJong at 938-7220 or Allana Hamm at 938-7283.