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BC’s PlantWise program expands to help gardeners and businesses choose responsible alternatives

ISCBC News Release, April 23, 2014: WILLIAMS LAKE—A provincial program that helps both consumers and industry make wise choices to stop the spread of invasive species is expanding this year. The 2014 PlantWise program, coordinated by the Invasive Species Council of British Columbia, helps both industry and consumers understand which plants are invasive, supporting the horticulture industry’s transition to becoming invasive-free, and building consumer demand for non-invasive plants.

“This year we are ramping up the successful PlantWise program to get more gardeners and businesses thinking about being PlantWise and choosing non-invasive plants across BC,” said Gail Wallin, Executive Director of the Invasive Species Council of BC (ISCBC). “Unfortunately, invasive species are being sold and traded in BC, but we hope that by educating both consumers and the horticultural industry, we can make British Columbians more PlantWise.”

The PlantWise program includes both industry and consumer components, supporting the efforts of industry leaders who provide direction to gardeners at the point of sale, as well as through general education and awareness. Consumer tools include in-store signage and Grow Me Instead, a series of resources on selecting non-invasive plant species. 

“Over the last two years, the collaborative program, Grow Me Instead, has developed a list of 27 invasive horticulture plants with recommendations for safe alternatives for all growing zones in BC,” said Wallin. “The Grow Me Instead resources are used by the PlantWise program to work with industry and consumers to find responsible alternatives to commonly sold invasive plants.”

Consumers and gardeners should look for PlantWise staff and partners at farmers markets, seedy Saturdays, garden shows, flower shows, festivals and other community events to learn more about how to choose non-invasive plants and make responsible plant choices. They can pick up a copy of the Grow Me Instead resources, or download them from the resources section: www.bcinvasives.ca.

PlantWise staff are also working with retailers, nurseries and other industry partners to help them get certified as PlantWise partners. This voluntary certification process includes free staff training through workshops and presentations, education materials and handouts for stores, e-communications, brand identity marketing, and industry magazine articles. The PlantWise message is also being spread by our partners, including the British Columbia Landscape and Nursery Association (BCLNA) and other leaders in the horticulture industry.

ISCBC is partnering with many regional invasive plant committees across the province to reach out to gardeners, and with the Master Gardeners Association of BC. ISCBC is hosting a series of webinars later this spring to help gardeners learn about making PlantWise choices. 

For more information or to get involved in PlantWise, visit www.bcinvasives.ca

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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. 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 and fund 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. 

Media contact:
Gail Wallin
gwallin@bcinvasives.ca 
250-305-9161

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