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Jobs created in BC communities to fight invasive plants

IPCBC News Release, Sept. 30, 2009: WILLIAMS LAKE—Hot Spots ‘Action Now!’ crews are creating short-term jobs for more than 100 unemployed resource workers in communities across BC. 

Collaborations between the Invasive Plant Council of BC (IPCBC), government, and over 15 regional invasive plant committees help minimize the economic, environmental, and social impacts of invasive plants.

"This program is helping address the short-term needs of displaced resource workers seeking employment, but it's also preparing them for a long-term career change into a field that has a shortage of knowledgeable and experienced people," said Duncan Barnett, chair of the Invasive Plant Council of BC.

Hot Spots ‘Action Now’ crews are undertaking invasive plant control and containment activities on high priority species and sites across the province. Crews are currently operating in the communities of Terrace, Prince George, Quesnel, Alexis Creek, Kamloops, Vernon, Penticton, Cranbrook, Castlegar, Comox, Campbell River, and Duncan.

Crews in the Comox Valley region of Vancouver Island are controlling sites infested with Japanese knotweed, spotted and meadow knapweed, tansy ragwort, and scotch broom.

“The crew members here are pretty excited to be doing this,” said crew supervisor for Comox Valley, Ernie Sellentin. “What we’re doing here is trying to hit the smaller infestations that we can manage. We can get more at the species here that are spreading beyond control while we still have a chance to eliminate them at the bottom of the curve instead of at the top when they’re too well established.”

“This experience has opened my eyes,” says Comox Valley crew member and displaced forestry worker, Brian Clozza. “As I’m traveling about, I’m seeing invasive plants a lot more, and realizing the extent of the problem we have in the future if they’re left unchecked.”

“I was in the forestry industry for 25 odd years, and other than broom, we didn’t have much introduction to invasive species. I’m hoping that if the forestry industry doesn’t turn around in the next little while, these skills will open up some opportunities,” he adds.

Some crew members were hired from participants who completed the IPCBC’s Invasive Plant Training Program. This training program provides individuals with invasive plant management skills. 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.

A forestry engineering contractor for 15 years, crew member Jeff Peterson sought out the invasive plant training program and gained employment on the crew in order to gain new skills and find other employment with the downturn in the forestry industry.

“The program was pretty informative,” he said. “I was quite shocked to realize how many invasive plants are around. I know there there’s of lot work around from what I’ve seen, and I hope to secure some contract work in the field ultimately.”

The invasive plant employment project is jointly funded between Western Economic Diversification and Province’s Job Opportunities Program, and is delivered in collaboration with over 15 regional invasive plant committees across BC.

This collaborative partnership between the IPCBC, governments and regional invasive plant committees helps minimize the impacts of invasive plants while providing job skills and new employment opportunities for displaced resources workers across BC.

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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. IPCBC workshops, activities, and events educate the public and professionals about invasive plants and their potential risks. This initiative 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 www.invasiveplantcouncilbc.ca.

For more information, contact the Invasive Plant Council of BC (IPCBC): www.invasiveplantcouncilbc.ca • (250) 392-1400 • 1-888-WEEDSBC • info@invasiveplantcouncilbc.ca


 

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