IPCBC awards N.A.T.S. Nursery and GardenWorks special recognition

IPCBC News Release, Feb. 15, 2010: WILLIAMS LAKE—N.A.T.S. Nursery and GardenWorks were two Lower Mainland businesses to receive special recognition awards during the Invasive Plant Council of British Columbia’s (IPCBC) Annual Public Forum, “Unique Habitats, Unique Challenges,” held at the Delta Vancouver Airport Hotel in Richmond, January 19th to 20th, 2010.  
Both businesses received special “Leading the Way” awards for voluntarily committing to stop growing and selling invasive plants—even popular sellers—to help prevent their spread, while offering non-invasive exotic and native alternatives.
N.A.T.S. Nursery, an international grower and distributer, was recognized for its leadership in voluntarily changing its growing and distribution of invasive plants. Recognized for innovation in growing both native and non-invasive plants, N.A.T.S Nursery works to ensure that customers find the ‘right plant for the right place,’ and not contribute to the dispersal of invasive plants.  
“N.A.T.S. Nursery is proud to be associated with the great work of the Invasive Plant Council,” said owner Rod Nataros. “From native plantings to green roofs projects we always strive to supply quality plants that will help create attractive landscapes, while limiting the opportunity for invasive plants to establish.”
One of BC’s major retailers, Gardenworks, voluntarily agreed to discontinue the sale of 10 invasive plants from their shelves in 2009 as a key step to mentor responsible gardening.
“Our garden centre staff first raised the issue because of comments we were receiving from customers. When we did further investigation, we looked at a series of plants identified as invasive species. We then made the decision to stop the sales of the ten most problematic plants and have had very positive response from our customers,” said GardenWorks owner, John Zaplatynsky. 
“Any sales we have lost by stopping the sale of these ten plants have been more than made up by the sale of the many wonderful alternatives that are available,” he added.
“From grower to retailer, these companies are demonstrating leadership in a growing and critical industry, and are excellent examples of how individuals can make a powerful difference,” said IPCBC chair, Duncan Barnett. 
The horticulture industry is a known pathway of spread for invasive plants; about 58% of invasive plants arrived in Canada as agricultural crops, landscape plants, ornamentals, and plants for medicinal and research purposes. 
Invasive plants are the second greatest threat to biodiversity after habitat loss, and these ‘unwanted’ invaders cost taxpayers millions of dollars each year in rising management costs and lost productivity to industry. 

To address this issue, the IPCBC hosted and presented the awards at the two-day forum,  “Unique Habitats, Unique Challenges,” with high-caliber speakers from around the world. Presentation highlights included topics on bioenergy crops as a potential pathway of invasion, monitoring and management of aquatic invasive species, and Australia’s “Weed Spotter” program for increased surveillance. 
“The economy and the environment are synonymous, and we need to work on them together,” said speaker Doug Konkin, Deputy Minister of Environment, as he addressed participants of the forum. “Knowing we have a problem isn’t enough. The risk of ignoring it is too high.”

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The IPCBC is a grassroots, non-profit society working collaboratively to build cooperation and coordination of invasive plant management in BC. Workshops, activities, and events, such as the IPCBC’s “Unique Habitats, Unique Challenges” forum, educate the public and professionals about invasive plants and their potential risks. Events like this forum will continue to assist the IPCBC in “spreading the word, not the weed” through outreach and education; thus minimizing the establishment of invasive plants.
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 and exploding problem of invasive plants. 
For more information, contact the Invasive Plant Council of BC (IPCBC): <> • (250) 392-1400 •

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