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Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society needs to replace smashed truck

Non-profit relies heavily on the field truck to haul away invasive plants and trees across region
The Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society is reaching out to the public to help replace their field truck that was smashed the first week of February. (OSSS photo)

The Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society is reaching out to the community for help after their ‘beloved’ field truck was smashed while parked and has been written-off by ICBC last week.

Luckily, no one was in the vehicle when it was hit but the damage to the trusty truck was extensive.

“We rely greatly on our field truck and over the past 10 years, it has supported the employment of 22 youth interns, enabled us to plant 30,000 Indigenous trees and shrubs throughout the Okanagan and Similkameen, remove 14,000 kilograms of garbage and invasive plants from sensitive ecosystems and support the careful stewardship of 10,000 acres of critical wildlife habitat,” said the society in a fundraising page.

“We are asking for your help to drive change in our region — with a new-to-us truck, we’ll be able to continue doing what we do best— engaging our local communities in environmental stewardship!

The society uses the truck all over the valleys from Princeton and Osoyoos all the way up to Armstrong and Cherryville.

The truck nicknamed ‘Albino Frog’ has hauled several tonnes of invasive plants out of natural areas and moved thousands of native trees and shrubs into their restoration projects.

Summer students crammed 15 bags of invasive dame’s rocket and Canada Thistle into that truck, removing these noxious weeds from an urban wetland complex along Vernon’s BX Creek.

“We have driven it all over a 10 acre vineyard we helped decommission along the banks of the Similkameen River before planting 800 plants in record time with Cawston volunteers. This truck has toted Turtle Basking logs to be installed in neighbourhood ponds, 30 foot ladders and screech-owl boxes to be carted through the forests of Lumby and Coldstream Creek.

The OSS partnered with Okanagan Crush Pad Winery to restore seven acres of creekside forest and floodplain habitat along Eneas Creek in Summerland. Prior to restoring it, this stretch was a very soggy hayfield.

OSSS has now planted approximately 3,000 plants at the Garnet Valley site Restoring eco-systems is what they do up and down the valley.

But to replace the field truck would cost around $30,000 which is more than they have to buy.

The society is almost half way to their $30,000 fundraising goal. If you would like to donate, click here.

The Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society field truck in better days planting trees and removing invasive ones. (OSSS photo)

READ MORE: Invasive trees being removed from parks

Monique Tamminga

About the Author: Monique Tamminga

Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times.
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