Published August 18, 2021
In the spring of 2021, ISCBC surveyed British Columbians to find out their awareness of and attitude towards invasive species. The survey also inquired into actions they are taking in their communities to help stop the spread of invasive species. The 2021 survey was conducted online from March 9, 2021, until April 7, 2021. It was promoted on Facebook, LinkedIn and through community networks in British Columbia which resulted in a total of 545 respondents.
The survey built upon a benchmark survey from four years earlier that assessed the effectiveness of invasive species messaging and outreach to British Columbians. The 2021 survey explored behaviours, motivators and barriers, program recognition and communication preferences. ISCBC will use the findings to inform the development of behaviour change programs to help stop the spread of invasive species.
- 99% of survey respondents felt that BC’s natural areas were very or extremely important to them.
- 99% of respondents said they were familiar with the term “invasive species”.
- 91% of participants indicated it was very important or extremely important to prevent the spread of invasive species in British Columbia.
PlantWise is a provincial program that supports the horticulture industry’s transition to become invasive-free. Gardeners in BC continue to be strong allies in preventing the spread of invasive species, as an amazing 90% of gardeners reported they never purchase, sell or trade invasive plants. But interestingly, 41% of BC gardeners would knowingly have invasive plants in their gardens, citing a lack of information on the impacts of invasives. Continuing partnerships and outreach with local growers and nurseries will help to promote PlantWise gardening in communities across BC.
Don’t Let It Loose
Almost 30% of respondents recognized the Don’t Let it Loose logo and program for pet owners. Many learned about the program from their pet store, local events, regional invasive species organisations and provincial and local governments. This shows the importance and success of the outreach work of ISCBC and regional organizations.
Clean Drain Dry
The Clean Drain Dry program aims to encourage boaters and aquatic recreationists to Clean, Drain and Dry all boats and equipment. When asked what motivated boaters to take the actions associated with Clean Drain Dry, the most frequent response was to keep the boat clean and the second-highest motivator was to prevent the spread of invasive species. Social responsibility plays an important part in driving behaviour change and the Clean Drain Dry program is no exception! Almost one in four reported that they took the steps to Clean Drain Dry because they knew they should.
Clean Drain Dry signage has been very effective in spreading awareness, with many respondents learning about the program through signage at boat launches and marinas across BC. One-third (32%) of all respondents (and 44% of boaters) indicated they heard about the program from ISCBC.
When encouraging behaviour change, there are always barriers. British Columbians remarked a lack of equipment, time and space at boat launches made it more difficult to Clean Drain Dry. Some boater simply forgot, underscoring the importance of reminding people through signage.
PlayCleanGo encourages outdoor recreationalists to adopt best practices to protect British Columbia’s natural habitats and biodiversity by stopping the spread of invasive species. With such beautiful outdoors spaces in BC, it’s not surprising that almost all (94%) of respondents indicated they are active outdoors. Popular activities include nature photography, fishing, hunting, trail running, mountain biking, golfing, climbing and dog walking.
The 2021 survey findings for checking for and removing invasive species are similar to those of the 2017 survey. Only 20% of respondents check for invasive hitchhikers on their recreational equipment frequently or always. Recognition of the PlayCleanGo logo and program was lower than that of other programs, although it improved since 2017.
Buy Local Burn Local
The Buy Local Burn Local program focuses on protecting our forests by keeping firewood local. British Columbians burn firewood for campfires, heat and outdoor cooking. Most firewood users (92%) said they purchase or collect their firewood near where they burn it. 77% of firewood users indicated they were aware of the risks of forest pests being transported with firewood, up from 57.4% in 2017. ISCBC hopes to increase recognition of the program through social media and other tactics.