New board executive presses forward with strong agenda for ISCBC

(February 26, 2019 – Williams Lake, BC) The Invasive Species Council of BC (ISCBC) has appointed its new Board for the coming year, and is pleased to have David Bennett, Director of Communications and External Relations for FortisBC, serving as the new Chair of the Board. Outgoing Chair Brian Heise of Thompson Rivers University looks forward to working closely with the organization during Bennett’s term as Chair.

“The past three years have been an exciting time for the Council, as we’ve moved forward in building lasting partnerships built on strong communication, tackled new invasions such as the Japanese Beetle, and seen renewed interest in research,” says Dr. Heise, who had served as ISCBC chair since 2016. “I am certain our incoming Chair, David Bennett, will be a strong leader for the organization and continue to enhance our work.”

Also appointed to the ISCBC’s board executive is new Vice Chair Lesley Douglas, General Manager of Environment at the City Port Moody, Secretary Nadia Chan, Manager of Trees and Landscapes at the City of Surrey and Treasurer Bill Grutzmacher, with Timberwest. The ISCBC Board is composed of 20 representatives from across British Columbia, with specific representation from local, Indigenous and provincial governments, community, and business and industry. A full list of directors is available at

The new directors were confirmed at ISCBC’s Annual General Meeting held February 6 in Richmond at its annual forum, INVASIVES 2019.

"Having just gathered with more than 180 invasive species experts, with people from as far away as Australia, I'm really looking forward to strengthening partnerships at all levels, within BC and beyond," says incoming Chair David Bennett. "We will be looking at lessons from Australia, which showed us that we need to close pathways and prevent introductions of invasive species to BC. There are great lessons to learn, such as introducing fees on shipping containers entering the country as an investment in stopping invasive species. I'm honoured to lead the Council into the next year."

At the AGM, the organization also celebrated its achievements of the past year, including:

  • 100+ presentations to 7000+ people in 100 communities
  • 2300+ youth participated in educational events and programming, with many more indirectly involved
  • 1000+ people reached through ISCBC-led province-wide forums and webinars
  • 20,000+ resources supplied to partners and public
  • 200+ people trained in ISCBC-led courses
  • 100+ people trained through Land Use & Real Estate Education Program

The Together in Action Innovation and Leadership Awards were also presented at INVASIVES 2019. This award celebrates individuals, organizations, businesses and governments that educate others, research new and innovative techniques and methods, and volunteer their time to further the efforts of stopping invasive species spread and establishment. The 2019 award was presented to Tom Nicols, who has been protecting and preserving Pacific Spirit Regional Park for more than 40 years. Tom‘s efforts not only improved the ecological health of this important remnant forest, but has also ensured its lasting protection by mentoring and inspiring a new generation of community stewards. The student award was presented to Matthew Strelau of UBC’s Department of Botany for his active volunteer work advocating against the spread of invasive plants, especially knotweed.

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

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Media contact:
Gail Wallin

Photo of Board at INVASIVES 2019 Forum & AGM (from back, L-R): Ralph Nevill - Community; Lesley Douglas - Vice-Chair; Community (Environment/Conservation); Fernie May Garbitt - Governments (Indigenous); Dan Tisseur - Business & Industry (Transportation & Utilities), Heike Stippler - Business & Industry (Trade & Retail); Ursula Viney - Governments (Provincial); Eric Nijboer - Business & Industry (Natural Resources); Jude Grass (departing Director); Bill Grutzmacher - Treasurer; Business & Industry (Natural Resources); Dave Holden - Governments (Federal); Dave Bennett - Chair; Business & Industry (Transportation & Utilities); Crystal Chadburn - Business & Industry; Laurie Carr - Community; Val Miller - Governments (Provincial); guest Andrew Cox, CEO of Invasive Species Council of Australia; Brian Heise - Past Chair; Community (Research & Education); Nadia Chan - Secretary; Governments (Local); Douglas Fossen - Business & Industry (Agriculture); Ken Schwaerzle - Business & Industry (Agriculture).

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