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Invasive Species Week June 9-15 raising awareness about harmful effects of invasives

ISCBC News Release, June 9, 2015, WILLIAMS LAKE—To draw attention to the dangers of introducing or spreading invasive species in British Columbia, the BC government has officially declared June 9-15, 2014 as Invasive Species Week across the province. Invasive species threaten BC’s environment, economy and society, including human health, but stopping invasive species is possible if we take action now to prevent, detect and manage invasive species. 

“There are hundreds of invasive and non-native species in BC – from daffodils to giant hogweed – but only some invasive species are of high concern due to their impact on the environment and the economy,” says Gail Wallin, Executive Director of the Invasive Species Council of BC (ISCBC). “Invasive Species Week is a chance to celebrate the successes made to prevent and stop the spread of invasive species, and to highlight the need to be vigilant and educated about invasive species, how to spot them, how to prevent them, and how to stop their spread before they become a danger to our province.”

To promote Invasive Species Week, a new website has been set up at invasivespeciesweek.com. British Columbians will find information about how to prevent and stop the spread of invasive species in their gardens, parks and forests, lakes, rivers and oceans, and in their cities, towns and across the province. There are links to events and activities being held by the Invasive Species Council of BC, regional invasive species committees, local governments and stewardship organizations across BC.

Many of the events during Invasive Species Week will allow citizens to participate in hands on and concrete actions, such as field days, weed pulls, native plant restoration sessions, garden tours, a special “Forbidden Delights” invasive species menu at a Nelson restaurant, a Grow-Me-Instead workshop for gardeners, and displays at farmer’s markets around BC. A full calendar is available at www.invasivespeciesweek.com.

Public interest in learning how to spot and prevent invasive species has been growing. Last year, ISCBC saw an increase of 15% in requests for their resources, including youth programs, outreach materials, training materials, and workshops. Some ISCBC programs include the Plantwise program, which helps gardeners and the horticultural industry to reduce the sale, introduction and spread of invasive plants. The Grow Me Instead booklet illustrates 26 of BC’s most “unwanted” plants, offering alternatives for gardeners and landscapers.

ISCBC also runs a program aimed at boaters to prevent the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species. Clean, Drain Dry encourages responsible boater behaviours and was run in 33 communities last year, with more than 2,800 boaters committing to cleaning, draining and drying boats and equipment before entering a new water body.

“Invasive Species Week is a great opportunity for the public to become aware of the programs run both provincially and in their local areas, by regional invasive species committees, local governments and other stewardship organizations,” added Wallin. “Get involved in learning how to prevent invasive species from taking hold, and how to keep them from damaging British Columbia’s environment, economy and our society.”

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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, Executive Director
gwallin@bcinvasives.ca
Ph: (250) 305-9161

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E-mail: info@bcinvasives.ca
Telephone: 250-305-1003 or 1-888-933-3722
Fax: 778-412-2248

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Williams Lake, BC V2G 1Z5

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