Invasive Plant Training across BC offers New Skills for Displaced Resource Workers

IPCBC News Release, Oct. 2, 2009: WILLIAMS LAKE—Displaced resource workers in Duncan and communities across BC developed new, valuable skills during an innovative Invasive Plant Training Program offered recently by the Invasive Plant Council of BC (IPCBC) in collaboration with regional invasive plant committees.

Through field and classroom components, participants learn about invasive plant identification, inventory skills, control methods and monitoring techniques. Successful participants receive a training certificate, and may be eligible for continuing education credits. 
“Being a part of this training program has been very encouraging. Having 25 people in this class (a full program) has brought a new glimmer of hope and optimism,” said participant, Ken Elliott, who operates a native plant nursery in Duncan, and is a Cowichan Tribe member. “It shows that there is a concern growing throughout the community about invasive plants. Courses like this bring the different communities together; we can all work together as team players, as partners, in managing these new introduced plants as they take on invasive tendencies.”

“I enjoyed this program. All the information brought forward broadens the horizons for not only the Cowichan people and our families, but it will close the gap for non-Cowichan people and overall it will be very good and helpful for everybody to take control of invasive plants in our traditional territory,” said participant and Cowichan Tribe member, Doug August. “As far as I know there is no recording of invasive plants within our traditional territory. This course will give us a good handle on recording all the data for the Cowichan tribes.”

Erin Wallich, a displaced forestry worker, attended the course in order to diversify her forestry skills with invasive plant management information, to help secure future employment. “The part I was missing was how to identify invasive plant species,” she said. “This course has been really great for me, because we have spent a lot of time with many invasive plant species.”

The Invasive Plant Training Program began in July, taking place in Terrace, Prince George, Kamloops, Penticton, Courtenay, Cranbrook, Castlegar, and Campbell River. Coordinated by the IPCBC and delivered by regional invasive plant committees, the Invasive Plant Training Program is funded by the Province’s Community Development Trust, Job Opportunities Program.

“With the growth in unemployment, diversifying traditional forest skills is important to families and communities in BC's rural areas,” said chair of the Invasive Plant Council of BC, Duncan Barnett. “The Invasive Plant Council of BC is pleased to work in partnership with government and local weed committees to develop the much-needed training for controlling and tracking invasive plants. With more informed and skilled forest workers, the spread and establishment of invasive plants can be minimized in order to help protect valuable natural resources.”

Those who complete this practical, hands-on training are candidates for the work portion of a larger province-wide initiative, Hot Spots ‘Action Now,’ funded by the Ministry of Community and Rural Development’s Job Opportunities Program. This project is providing jobs for over 100 unemployed resource workers across BC.  

Crews will be put to work later this month in the Cowichan Valley, to undertake invasive plant control and containment activities on high priority species and sites. One of these crews will have full representation from the Cowichan Tribes—the first crew of its kind within the Hot Spots ‘Action Now’ initiative. With operational coordination from the Coastal Invasive Plant Committee, the Cowichan Tribes crew will work on containment of knotweed along the Cowichan River Corridor, a Canadian Heritage river system with internationally significant salmon stocks.  

Despite being a relatively recent invader, knotweed is spreading rapidly throughout the Cowichan River watershed, and threatens environmental and socio-economic values, including local fisheries.  This invasion concerns many, including a diverse group of stakeholders from the Cowichan River Stewardship Roundtable, the Coastal Invasive Plant Committee, and the province’s Inter-Ministry Invasive Plant Working Group, who met this July to discuss options for knotweed control within the Cowichan River watershed. The work that will be undertaken by the Cowichan Tribes crew this fall will consist of an initial attack on this invasion, to help prevent further spread until stakeholders can develop a long-term management plan for knotweed in this watershed. 

For more information, please contact 1-888-WEEDSBC or 1-250-392-1400.

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Invasive Plant Council of BC
The IPCBC is a grassroots, non-profit society working collaboratively to build cooperation and coordination of invasive plant management in BC. IPCBC workshops, activities, and events educate the public and professionals about invasive plants and their potential risks. This training program will continue to assist the IPCBC in “stopping the spread” of invasive plants through outreach and education; thus minimizing the negative impacts and establishment of invasive plants across the province.

Membership is free and open to anyone willing to work collaboratively. Find out more at

For more information, contact the Invasive Plant Council of BC (IPCBC): • (250) 392-1400 • 1-888-WEEDSBC •

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