Indigenous forest grows at KPU Langley

Mon, Oct 1, 2018

Langley, B.C. – A new cohort of students has taken up the challenge of indigenizing and revitalizing the Logan Creek Floodplain around KPU’s Langley campus.

The vision for an urban forest at Kwantlen Polytechnic University is coming to fruition thanks to a $25,000 grant from Tree Canada and the Canadian National Railway Company. The project is spearheaded by Dr. Kathy Dunster, urban ecosystems instructor at KPU, with help from students and faculty.

Phase one of the Logan Creek Integrity Project started in 2015 with students working to clear invasive species like the Yellow Flag Iris. Phase two is now underway, continuing that work and planting native species important to the Kwantlen First Nation, including a sacred grove of western red cedar. 

So far in 2018, the students have removed 3,763 invasive plants for a total of 9,477 since the start of phase one. 

“The indigenous species we will be planting have been chosen because they are traditionally found in wetland and riparian ecosystems in the region and thrive in wet habitat. Many of the plants provide food and medicine used by the Coast Salish,” Dunster explains. 

Allison McCabe, a fourth year horticulture – urban ecosystems student, hopes the vision for the project will be beneficial for animals and students. 

“I just hope it’s more of a functional ecosystem because it’s a really nice space, it’s not being used to its full potential.”

For second year student, Jessi Gentry, it’s exciting to see how the space will function in the future. 

“It would be nice to come back and see that you participated in its success,” she says.

The Logan Creek project was awarded the $25,000 grant from CN and Tree Canada’s EcoConnexions – From the Ground Up program for the greening of Canadian municipalities and Indigenous communities along CN rail corridors. 

“These trees we plant and nurture are a living legacy that will enrich our country, our communities and our homes for decades to come, said Michael Rosen, president of Trees Canada. “These communities greened through CN EcoConnexions will be a lasting testament to CN’s exemplary environmental leadership.”

“CN remains committed to making a positive impact on the communities along our network, and are proud to be part of a program that helps to make these communities better places to live, work and play,” says Sean Finn, Executive Vice-President, Corporate Services and Chief Legal Officer for CN. “We’re not only helping beautify these communities, we’re positively contributing to a sustainable future one community at a time, as planting trees improves air quality and offsets carbon emissions.”

“The grant means we can continue on our reconciliation path by decolonizing and re-indigenizing the Logan Creek Floodplain,” says Dunster. “The long-term 300-year goal is that the restored and redesigned riparian forest will support a thriving, biodiverse salmon habitat and nourish native fruit-bearing plants traditionally used by the Kwantlen First Nation and available to them for present and future generations.”

For more information on KPU’s horticulture programs, visit