Invasive Species Council of British Columbia

Back to School with Invasive-Wise Education

Feature photo: East Vancouver students learn about the importance of Buy Local, Burn Local.

By Lisa Houle | August 29, 2022

Pencils… check! Paper… check! FREE curriculum-based lessons on invasive species… CHECK! That’s right, school starts soon and Invasive-Wise Education will be back in the classroom and beyond.  Do you know a teacher looking for activities on invasive species and how to prevent their spread? Are you interested in inspiring learners to contribute to community and care for the environment but don’t know where to start?  

The Invasive-Wise Education Program includes curriculum-based activities for Kindergarten through Grade 12, and the personal support of our fun Educational Facilitators, Jennifer Hegan and Stephanie Weinstein. The activities can be used in the classroom, at home or outdoors in the schoolyard or nearby green spaces. They incorporate active games and many subject areas, including math, science, language arts, and First Peoples’ Perspectives.  Invasive Species education builds a sense of social responsibility and help young people know that they can make a positive difference in their communities and the environment.   

Don’t just take our word for how great Invasive-Wise Education is, read on to learn about how teachers are enjoying the program. 

Kristen Lewis’ K-4 students at the Kootenay Discovery School in Fernie, B.C. learned about flowers, native plants and pollinators as they choose new species to grow in their school garden. This made them curious about what plants and animals are ‘non-native’ and ‘invasive’ in their community.  “My students noticed a lot of Burdock plants around our dike trails so we decided to research Burdock and pull it out on Earth Day.  We only managed to get one plant out of the ground and it was HARD work,” said Kristen. “What really let me know that the students had learned about the importance of doing their part to prevent the spread of invasive species is that before we went to leave the area, they reminded each other to check for any burrs and make sure they didn’t have any stuck to them.”   

Student from Fernie, BC pulling Knapweed at Maidon Lake.

The Discovery School didn’t stop their learning there. They also helped the East Kootenay Invasive Species Council do a bigger weed pull at a local area called Maidon Lake, pulling Knapweed and Oxeye daisy. The school later connected with the City of Fernie and now act as stewards for the Maidon Lake area where they will be monitoring and collecting data about invasive species and continuing with weed pulls.  

Kathy Cormack, a grade 11-12 teacher in Squamish, B.C. also works with her students on removing invasive plants. “We tackled English ivy and Lamium just a couple blocks from our school with two members of SSISC [Sea to Sky Invasive Species Council].  The kids had fun and definitely learned why you don’t want to let invasive species loose. The resources were great! Thank you!”   

Students from Squamish, BC work as a team to remove invasive plants.

What is unique to Invasive-Wise Education is the personal support.  Our Educational Facilitators can: 

  • guide educators through ISCBC resources and activities and facilitate connections to local experts in invasive species action.  
  • deliver virtual class presentations with fun games and a Q&A for students to learn about invasive species  
  •  Offer teacher ProD opportunities and virtual workshops 

Start the school year off right and connect with Jen, Steph and the Invasive-Wise Education program. Our educational materials are free and so is our continued support. Learn more and sign up for Invasive-Wise Education today! 

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