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BC gardeners can now be PlantWise on the go with new mobile app and website

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, December 15, 2015, Williams Lake, BC—BC gardeners and landscapers planning for next year’s gardens can now use their mobile devices to find out which plants are non-invasive, as the popular PlantWise program today launched a user-friendly mobile app and website to help British Columbians make wise choices to stop the spread of invasive species.

PlantWise is a prevention-based program designed for the horticulture industry and consumers to encourage people to choose only safe, non-invasive plants. PlantWise ambassadors provide direction to gardeners through education and awareness, in-store signage and Grow Me Instead, a resource that lists 26 invasive horticulture plants with multiple safe and attractive alternatives for all growing zones. All the resources of Grow Me Instead, along with links to retailers across BC who are becoming invasive-free, are now available on the PlantWise mobile app and website at www.beplantwise.ca.

“The new PlantWise app and website lets the user easily look up their growing zone or region and see which plants are most appropriate and which non-invasive plants are the best choices, as recommended by the experts,” says Gail Wallin, Executive Director of the Invasive Species Council of British Columbia (ISCBC), which coordinates the PlantWise program. “Because many invasive plants are just as beautiful and functional as non-invasive plants, they can be hard to differentiate. With this new mobile app and website, it’s now much easier to be 'PlantWise' and know what you grow.” 

The mobile app can be downloaded at www.beplantwise.ca or from your phone’s app store.

Invasive plants are a huge threat to biodiversity. With unique characteristics that other plants lack, invasive plants can out-compete native vegetation and cause environmental and economic harm.  The cost of invasive species to Canada is between $16.6 billion and $34.5 billion per year.  Invasive species cause increased maintenance costs to public parks and private property, devaluing real estate. Many invasive plants are sold to customers, escape cultivation and are now invasive in BC. Examples include purple loosestrife, English ivy, yellow flag iris, yellow archangel and Russian olive.

“The PlantWise program has helped make a difference across BC over the past few years, with total sales by garden centres of invasive plants now under one per cent for the industry,” says Wallin. “Still, there are invasive species being sold and traded in BC, and we hope that by educating both consumers and the horticultural industry, we can make British Columbians more PlantWise. This new mobile app and website are a big step in that education process.”

For more information about PlantWise, or to become a PlantWise partner in your community

About the Invasive Species Council of BC
The Invasive Species Council of BC (ISCBC) is working to minimize the negative ecological, social and economic impacts caused by the introduction, establishment, and spread of invasive species for more than 10 years. Their goals are to: educate the public and professionals about invasive species and their risks to ecosystems and economies through activities such as workshops, seminars and newsletters; coordinate research relating to invasive species and make this available to the public; and undertake and support actions that improve the health of BC’s natural ecosystems. For more information or to find your local invasive species committee visit www.bcinvasives.ca. 

Funding for this project has been provided through the Canada-BC Agri-Innovation Program under Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The program is delivered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC.

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Media contact:

Gail Wallin