Invasive Species Council of British Columbia

2024 Together in Action Award Winners

By Lisa Houle | May 29, 2024

Modeling leadership by inspiring others.

Building collaborative partnerships.

Demonstrating significant dedication and commitment.

These are some of the ways this year’s Together In Action award winners have been described.

ISCBC’s Together in Action awards are given out every year, acknowledging those who go above and beyond in invasive species management and prevention.

“It is always inspiring to see the great work that’s happening in the invasive species field. So many individuals are dedicated to preserving B.C.’s biodiversity, leading invasive species prevention, management, and education in their communities. It is truly commendable,” said ISCBC Board Nadia Chan. “This year’s winners are the perfect example of dedicated leaders who go above and beyond in the prevention and management of invasive species. We are thrilled to present them with these awards and extend our hearty congratulations!”

ISCBC is pleased to announce the 2024 Together in Action winners in the ‘Innovation & Leadership’ and ‘Student Leadership’ categories:

The 2024 recipient of the Together in Action Innovation and Leadership Award – recognizing and celebrating the efforts of those who demonstrate leadership and commitment to the field of invasive species – is Bill Grutzmacher.

As an operations forester based out of the North Island, Bill’s first introduction to invasive species was Scotch broom in the mid 90’s.

“I still remember the reforestation conversation I had with an Australian forester during an operations field tour in which he said I would soon learn to hate those beautiful yellow flowers. He was absolutely right!” said Bill. “On a good note, it was this same challenging plant that first introduced me to the Council. Fast forward 15 years or so years, I can truly say that ISCBC has been an important part of both my professional and personal life.”

Bill has always been committed to the responsible practices that protect our natural spaces – ensuring our forests remain productive as a valuable economic resource and thrive as places for all of us to enjoy. In his time with Mosaic Forest Management Corp, Bill was very involved in efforts to manage Scotch broom, which seriously challenged reforestation efforts by limiting the growth of conifer seedlings. His continued interest in invasive species led him to a long career in a volunteer capacity with ISCBC on the Board, where his expertise and knowledge has been instrumental in many ways.

“To be recognized for my service to the Council is very humbling. Truthfully, I would have been pleased just to receive another coveted ISCBC ball cap!” said Bill. “Thank you to the nominations committee. I am extremely honoured to be receiving this award for 2024.” 

The recipient of the Together in Action Student Leadership Award – acknowledging the work of an individual student who demonstrates leadership and innovation in invasive species prevention, work and management in B.C. – is Sharmin Malik, a student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey, studying horticulture, with a major in plant health.

Sharmin was introduced to invasive species in several of her university horticultural courses.

“The more I learned about them and their negative impacts on the environment, the more I started noticing them in my surroundings,” said Sharmin. “I wanted to contribute towards minimizing their impact in this beautiful province and protect the native flora and fauna.”

Sharmin is an active volunteer with endless curiosity and enthusiasm towards community and environmental stewardship. She has been involved in many volunteer opportunities with ISCBC including invasive plant pulls, nature inventories, marine shoreline surveys, skill-building workshops, interpretive nature walks, and she helped run a public outreach event teaching locals about invasive species. Sharmin has volunteered with a variety of other environment-based organizations, such as: the City of Surrey’s Green Teams helping to remove invasive plants at various parks; the City of Coquitlam where she joined public environmental workshops to expand her knowledge on local tree and plant species; as well as helping with weed pulls in Vancouver.

Sharmin is both grateful and honoured to be chosen for this award.

“For me being a volunteer and participating in different activities was already very rewarding. I have met several people, learned different things, and have grown as a person,” said Sharmin. “Sometimes I go back to places where I have removed invasives or planted trees and it fills me with joy knowing I did something to better the environment.”

Congratulations to the 2024 Together in Action award winners, and a special thank you to all those who took the time to nominate the leaders and difference makers who inspire us all every day.  

Lisa is a Communications and Outreach Coordinator at ISCBC. She values a diverse environment and connecting with others about environmental protection. In her spare time Lisa enjoys spending time at the ocean and beach combing for sea glass. You can reach Lisa at