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Tatla Lake Elementary students take a stand against weeds completing Invasive-Wise Youth Challenge

Williams Lake Tribune, May. 28, 2018 11:45 a.m, WILLIAMS LAKE - Tatla Lake Elementary students take a stand against weeds - School completes Invasive Species Council of BC’s Invasive Wise Youth Challenge

Tatla Lake Elementary is the first school in the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) to complete the Invasive Species Council of BC’s Invasive Wise Youth Challenge. On Wednesday, May 23, 15 elementary students from Grades K-7 gathered with spades in hand to take a stand against invasive species in their schoolyard.

The Invasive Wise Youth Challenge is a program that compliments school curriculums and inspires youth to take action to create healthy landscapes and communities free of invasives species.

Clare Gordon, school principal, organized an invasive species presentation for the students in March to complete the education portion of the program. It included an outline of invasive species — otherwise known as biodiversity ‘bullies’ — how they are handled, and easy ways to reduce spreading ‘bullies’ to new areas! The presentation ended with an interactive game to distinguish invasive species from those species native to the area.

Tatla Lake Elementary fully embraced the program, with students connecting to specific invasive species such as oxeye daisy and American bullfrog.

The Invasive Wise Youth Challenge was completed by Tatla Lake Elementary when they adopted their school yard as a community green space that they inventoried and actively managed for non-toxic invasive plants.

Donning hats and sunscreen, students streamed out to their schoolyard to see what ‘bullies’ they could find and safely remove. After photographing each new invasive species, they were pulled out and placed in special bags called ‘Bully Bags’.

With a short freezie break to beat the heat, Tatla Lake Elementary students pulled ‘bullies’ in their schoolyard for almost two hours and filled three ‘Bully Bags.’

This event was well-timed with Invasive Species Action Month in B.C.

Tatla Lake Elementary, among other schools and youth groups across the province, are participating in a month-long “What’s in my Backyard?” youth photo contest. It encourages kids to get outdoors and explore invasive species in their communities, with a top prize of $350.

Tatla Lake Elementary will be submitting photos of invasive plants that students targeted during their weed pull, including scentless chamomile, and hope to put the money towards their invasive free school garden.

If you want to participate in the Invasive Wise Youth Challenge, the “What’s in My Backyard” youth photo contest or to learn more about invasive species in general, visit bcinvasives.ca.

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