Silent invasion of invasive plants prompts action in BC

IPCBC News Release, Feb. 6, 2009: WILLIAMS LAKE—To address the growing issue of invasive plants, more than 125 experts as well as a diversity of high caliber speakers in the field of invasive plant management attended the Invasive Plant Council of British Columbia’s (IPCBC) Annual Public Forum and AGM, “Stop the Spread,” held at the Delta Airport Hotel in Richmond, January 20 to 21st.

Invasive plants are silently invading BC at an alarming rate, negatively impacting the economy, environment, and human health. Even without the effects of global warming, invasive plants are costing millions of dollars each year in rising management costs and lost productivity to industry. 

This two-day forum focused on the informed choices and practical solutions that industry and individuals can adopt to reduce the introduction and establishment of unwanted invasive plants to regions across BC and beyond. Engaging First Nations and gardeners was a key message delivered during the forum.

International speaker, Robert Chin, of the Nursery and Garden Industry, Australia, presented on a successful, “Grow Me Instead” program in Australia that is a national outreach program directed to gardeners. Publication materials inform gardeners of each State’s invasive species, along with suggested alternative plants for industry.

Jointly funded by government and industry, “Grow Me Instead” educational publications and industry accreditation strategies can be adopted in Canada, said Chin. Results of this program are showing that the garden industry can make a real difference to reduce the impacts of invasive plants.

“Selling weeds is in nobody’s best interest,” he said, adding that, “the more we can work together in this battle of invasive plants, the more likely we are to stop their spread.”

Keynote speaker, Brian Minter, of Minter Gardens in Chilliwack, also emphasized the importance of approaching youth as a consumer to engage and educate in the area of horticulture and invasive plants.

Making the horticulture industry relevant to youth is the first step, said Minter, along with education that links gardening to the health of the environment, especially surrounding the issue of invasive plants. Youth, he said, are a powerful audience who should be encouraged to garden. “Unless it’s relevant to them somehow, they won’t be concerned,” said Minter.

A clear call to action was expressed across all attendees. Working across governments, First Nations will work together to ensure that practical actions are undertaken to stop invasive plants that reduce traditional benefits from the land base. Provinces across the country linked together to stop the spread of new plants across our borders.  All agreed to work together to stop the spread of invasive plants that threaten the natural ecosystems, that are negatively impacting land values and impacting recreation sites and parks.  By ‘spreading the word, not the weed”, BC can reduce the negative and escalating impacts of invasive plants… get involved!

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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 Stop the Spread 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 experienced phenomenal growth 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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