FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 1, 2017, Williams Lake BC: To get British Columbians active in preventing and stopping the spread of harmful invasive species, the BC government has officially declared the entire month of May as Invasive Species Action Month. 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 yellow flag iris 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 Action Month is a chance to take part! 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.”
The supporting website bcinvasivesmonth.com provides British Columbians 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 Action Month will allow citizens to participate in hands-on activities, such as field days, weed pulls, native plant restoration sessions, invasive species identification booths, Grow-Me Instead workshop for gardeners, and displays at events around BC. ISCBC is launching an online short video contest where people across BC can make and upload videos about invasive species for a chance to win prizes. Anyone with access to a smartphone can enter! Invasive Species Action Month events include online webinars hosted by ISCBC with a focus on invasive mussels and boating on May 2, and new invaders to BC’s grasslands on May 17th. The full events calendar is available at bcinvasivesmonth.com.
An “Invader of the Day” will be promoted daily by the Invasive Species Council of BC to help educate the public on which species are invasive here in BC. Each week, ISCBC will provide educational materials about invasive species and highlight how British Columbians can take action against them. To mark Canada’s 150th anniversary, the council is releasing a downloadable character called Spotter Jay that youth in over 150 locations in B.C. can use in projects about preventing the spread of invasive species.
Four themes during Invasive Species Action month include the programs:
Don’t Let It Loose! focuses on problems caused by invasive animals, including risks associated with releasing unwanted pets into the wild
PlantWise, Grow Me Instead focuses on problems caused by invasive plants and helps gardeners (and people involved in agriculture, ranching and horticulture) prevent the spread of invasive plants in B.C.
PlayCleanGo focuses on outdoor recreation and provides PlayCleanGo guidelines for removing debris from sports and recreation equipment to prevent the spread of invasive species
The Clean, Drain, Dry Program explains why invasive plant and animal species are a concern in B.C.’s freshwater and marine environments
“Invasive Species Action Month 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.”
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 for more than 10 years. 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 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.
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Photos available of Invader of the Day: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/g84nrm2rn6vo0z2/AACiaFIWWKXZzAnWs3Xy2IpAa?dl=0
Executive Director, Invasive Species Council of British Columbia
P: (250) 305-9161