Invasion of the Aliens! Public Forum marks the Council’s transition toward invasive species

IPCBC News Release, Jan. 21, 2011: WILLIAMS LAKE—The “Invasion of the Aliens!” public forum, hosted by the Invasive Plant Council of British Columbia January 18-19, 2011, marked the transition of the Council toward invasive species and generated buzz on new initiatives raising public awareness in BC.

A record-breaking 181 participants attended the highly anticipated “Invasion of the Aliens!” Public Forum held at the Delta Hotel in Richmond January 18-19th, 2011. Hosted by the Invasive Plant Council of BC (IPCBC), this event marks the transition of the Council toward invasive species and new ways of working together to minimize the impacts of invasive species to BC communities and habitats. 

During “Invasion of the Aliens!” IPCBC announced the release of a Five-Year Business Plan that will guide the Council’s future activities and initiatives to serve as a practical resource on BC’s invasive species. A new guiding document, the “Invasive Species Strategy for BC” will be developed over 2011 to build links across all groups and set the collaborative plan forward for management and awareness of invasive species. All interested groups and agencies are invited to build the Strategy to ensure it meets local and province-wide needs to achieve reduced impacts of invasive species. 

With a line-up of engaging speakers and networking opportunities during the event, participants agreed “Invasion of the Aliens!” enhanced invasive plant and species management in BC and across Canada. 

The diverse range of high-caliber international speakers included dynamic keynote, Katie V. Spellman of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Spellman identified the impacts and challenges of the introduction of invasive species to new habitats, and clearly illustrated research linking wildfire with invasive plant spread in the Boreal forest. She stated that as a result of climate change, there will likely be an increased frequency of fire resulting in more invasive plant invasions. To manage post-fire invasions in BC, in areas where invasive plants are not already established, she recommends partnering with fire control agencies to prevent further spread from fire disturbance.

Tim Willis of the Royal BC Museum presented another unique initiative entitled “Aliens Among Us”.  In 2011 and 2012, the Royal BC Museum will tour small communities in BC, teaching people to be aware, identify, and report invasive species.  This exhibit is linked to a display on biodiversity that recognizes the threat created by invasive species. He had the audience on the edge of their seats waiting for his version of a ‘bullfrog call’; but in the end encouraged the group to visit the exhibition for the real thing! 

Also a highlight was speaker Janet Clark of the U.S. Invasive Species Advisory Committee, who presented on the importance of the passionate work done by local enthusiasts to combat the problem of invasive species. Clark emphasized that while the work to improve invasive species management does not bring about fame or fortune, and it is a challenge to motivate individuals to not only recognize the problem but also take action, successes are being made and sharing ideas across borders is key to continued improvement. 

The successful “Invasion of the Aliens” event was followed by a very well attended, full-day workshop called “Making it Work...Locally.” About 65 people gathered to discuss approaches to managing invasive plants at the local level. A panel of experts prompted discussions on effective bylaws, disposal of invasive plants, and outreach programs. The valuable information generated by attendees will be made available in a special report this spring.  
You can help reduce the negative and escalating impacts of invasive species in BC. Find out how to get involved, become a member (FREE!), and find information on other events and programs from the IPCBC website ( or call 1-888-WEEDSBC.

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The IPCBC is a grassroots, non-profit charity working collaboratively to build cooperation and coordination of invasive species management in BC. Workshops, activities, and events, such as the IPCBC’s “Invasion of the Aliens” forum, educate the public and professionals about invasive species and their potential risks. Events like this forum will continue to assist the IPCBC through outreach and education; thus minimizing the establishment of invasive species in BC.

The IPCBC has grown rapidly since its inception in 2004. Initiated and mentored under the vision of the Fraser Basin Council, the Invasive Plant Council of BC is recognized across the country for its leadership in building collaboration to the challenging problem of invasive species. 
For more information, contact the Invasive Plant Council of BC (IPCBC): • (250) 392-1400 or 1-888-WEEDSBC •

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