Invasive Species Council of British Columbia

June 3rd, 2022

This May, École Nesika students looked a little more closely at what grows in their backyards with the Invasive Species Council of BC. They were on a mission to find species growing in their community to include in a special field guide for kids to be developed by The Council. 

Not only will the kid-friendly field guide include native species children are curious about, it will also include some invasive species to avoid. “We hope that a kid’s field guide for the area will act as an engaging and age-appropriate learning tool to connect kids to their natural environment” says Cariboo Coordinator Camille Sangarapillai.              

Students started the project by investigating existing field guides and choosing things they liked from each. They decided that pictures, fun facts and the species’ names (common, Latin, and Secwépemc) were important to include in a kid’s field guide. One of the teachers remarked how excited they were that the students were enchanted by the technical field guides and wanted to make their own! 

Students practiced making pages for a field guide. They each chose a favourite species, such as the white-tailed deer above.
They included pictures, names and fun facts

The following week, Nesika students took to their schoolground forest to find species to include in the guide. They searched from the ground to the sky for animals and plants living there. Special species found include towering Douglas Fir trees, bounding mule deer, and nodding onion. A few students came across a cheerful light-yellow flower, in full bloom despite a cool spring, that they identified as Rough-fruited fairybells belonging to the lily family. These species are native to Williams Lake and are part of healthy ecosystems. 

While the students mostly encountered native species, they did find an invasive plant known as Western Goatsbeard. It has bright yellow flowers that, when they turn to seed, resemble giant dandelion heads. This was a great opportunity for the youth to learn strategies to curb the spread of invasive species, in this case to avoid blowing on Western Goatsbeard seedheads. 

The Council is using the list of student-identified species to help create the field guide and will be working with Williams Lake First Nation youth in early July to add more. The goal is to have a field guide for kids in the Cariboo by kids in the Cariboo. The guides will be developed throughout the summer and will be distributed to communities around the Williams Lake Community Forest in the fall.  

“I was so impressed by their exploration and observations. I have lived in the Cariboo for a long time and had never observed fairybells in flower. I can’t wait to see kids out on community trails with their guides in hand,” remarked Camille.  

This project was generously funded by the Williams Lake Community Forest, a joint partnership between the City of Williams Lake and Williams Lake First Nation.  

Nesika students spot a deer while out ID’ing on the schoolgrounds

Camille Sangarapillai is the Cariboo Coordinator and an Education Facilitator at ISCBC. She is grateful to live, work, and play on the traditional lands of the Secwépemc and Tŝilhqot’in Nations. In her spare time, she enjoys foraging, gardening, sewing and spending time with her children in the great outdoors. You can reach Camille at


May 20th, 2022

Each year, sponsors make Invasive Species Action Month outreach, contests and communications possible. Our 2022 sponsors have a range of involvement with invasive species. From incorporating our behaviour change programs into daily operations to encouraging clients to integrate Invasive-Wise strategies into their lives, they all take an active role in curbing the spread of invasive species in our province. We are deeply grateful to our sponsors, and this year we thought we’d ask them some big questions. Their answers are fascinating, and inspiring. 

When did you first learn about how serious a threat invasive species are to our landscapes and communities? 

Setetkwe Environmental: The vast distance of our operations means that we have rapidly learned the large variety of invasives through multiple bio-zones. From wild mats of Yellow hawkweed in the north, rapidly expanding clusters of Common tansy and Hoary alyssum near Barriere, and kilometers of Himalayan blackberry at the coast, we are seeing first-hand the diversity of invasives and the problems they cause in various habitats.   

Carleton Landscaping: 9 years ago, when we first started learning about native plants to help pollinators, songbirds and hummingbirds. And finding out most of our planted garden plants were exotic ornamentals. 

Quality Garden & Pet:  

Lorenzo: When living in Australia, I was involved in our local bush care group, learning about the many introduced invasive plants taking over the bush. The passion for removing invasives continues here in BC.  

Nara: I lived in England when the fear over Japanese knotweed spreading was truly cited in murder and suicide cases and the impact it can have on property values was a key plot line in TV shows and a novel. I was astonished when I moved back to the Coast to see it blooming everywhere! 

Enbridge: As a responsible owner/leaser of land, Enbridge has been actively managing invasive species in British Columbia for many decades and has specifically been involved with ISCBC since 2009. 

Can you remember a story in your organization or company that involved a customer or project and an invasive species?  

Carleton Landscaping: We have a client who has transformed their yard into almost 80% native plantings, where before there were borderline invasive clonal type species. They have seen an incredible amount of biodiversity come back to their property. They were so ecstatic about the results in their own gardens that they asked us to manage the riparian area behind their property. It has been 2 years now and we have removed all the Himalayan blackberry, Goutweed, and Periwinkle from the area, and replaced it with native trees, shrubs, and plants.  

Carleton Landscaping removed Himalayan blackberry (pictured above) and other invasive species from a client’s property and replaced them with native plants. | Credit: M Syvenky

Setetkwe Environmental: We like to think that when we control invasives in the gravel pits and roadsides, we are helping to reduce the spread of invasives, and hopefully we are contributing to the overall ongoing battle in our province. 

Quality Garden & Pet:  

Lorenzo: A customer wanted to plant ivy to cover a trellis in a shady area. We recommended and sold them the ‘Sausage vine’ Holboellia coriacea, which is evergreen, with fragrant flowers, and thrives in partial to full shade. 

Nara: We still get folks asking for certain invasive plants, Periwinkle being an almost weekly request. Most customers are very appreciative of the education about invasives and keen to learn about alternatives. We can barely keep the Grow Me Instead brochures topped up! 

Enbridge: The best stories are from the many occasions in which Enbridge has collaborated successfully with landowners to control invasive species on the landscape. We share successes and challenges with stakeholders and learn from each other. 

What is an “invasive-wise” practice that you would recommend to your community?  

Carleton Landscaping: Learn about native plants in their area and choose native plants for their gardens! 

Quality Garden & Pet: 

Lorenzo: Firstly, don’t plant invasives. Be mindful of how you dispose of garden waste as home composting does not often reach high enough temperatures to kill the seeds. 

Nara: Tackle the worst offenders first. Daphne laurel, English holly, and Himalayan blackberry are easiest to pull out as small seedlings. Nip them before they get the chance to grow strong roots. It’s actually quite therapeutic chasing out the stolons of Periwinkle and Yellow archangel in the spring or autumn when the soil is wet. 

Enbridge has a great appreciation for the PlayCleanGo® Stop Invasive Species In Your Tracks® campaign and the company uses PlayCleanGo® resources to help inform employees and contractors about helpful practices to protect the land. As pipeline right-of-ways are on public land – and often used by the public accessing these corridors – Enbridge encourages everyone to learn more about the PlayCleanGo® public education campaign. 

About our 2022 Sponsors: 

Setetkwe Environmental Inc is an Aboriginal-owned company based in the North Thompson Valley.  Created in 2015, they treat invasive and noxious weeds on the TransMountain Pipeline from Valemount to Kamloops and Chilliwack to Westridge Terminal.  Setetkwe Environmental also battles invasives along forest service roadsides and in gravel pits in the Interior.

Carleton Landscaping is a Vancouver based landscaping company focused on native plants and ecological restoration. 

Quality Garden and Pet is a full-service garden centre, feed, and pet store in Gibsons on the beautiful Sunshine Coast.

Enbridge is North America’s leading energy infrastructure company. The company transports, distributes and generates energy, with diversified assets that include a balance between crude oil and natural gas, as well as an expanding renewables business. In British Columbia, Enbridge operates the Westcoast Energy Natural Gas pipeline system. 


By Ksenia Kolodka | May 09, 2022

May is Invasive Species Action Month (ISAM) and that means we need YOU to take action! It’s easy to do your part, here are the 5 easiest ways to help protect BC’s biodiversity this month:

1 – Become a Community Scientist! Sign up for “Community Science Connections” and we’ll send you a monthly newsletter with the latest in invasive species news and great ways to get involved in your community. Sign up here. 

2 – Learn something new in 30 minutes! We have a whole catalogue of FREE online e-courses. These online lessons are designed to teach anyone and everyone about invasive species prevention and management. Check out our two most recent additions – learn about European green crab an opportunistic invasive crab that’s taking over BC’s coasts and our course for anglers – an informative course for fishing enthusiasts on how they can be responsible as they get their latest catch.

3 – Donate! From as little as $10 a month you can help us make a big difference in protecting our natural spaces and BC’s biodiversity! Donate here. 

4 – Observe and Report! Download the iNaturalist app and join the “I Spy and Identify” project. Log your observations of animals, plants, insects and other living things when you’re out exploring nature, share with fellow naturalists, and discuss your findings! You could observe a new species in your area – whether it be native or invasive, all observations are a great contribution to community science!  

5 – Enter to Win! Take part in our What’s in Your Backyard (WIMBY0 photo contest by sharing photos of the invasive species you find in your community on Instagram or Twitter using #WIMBY2022, or enter via the website here! You could win $500 toward your favourite local outdoors store! 

Matthew Syvenky submitted this photo of European rabbits to the #WIMBY2022 contest!

Ksenia is a Community Science Coordinator with ISCBC. She is passionate about nature conservation and taking film photos of the beautiful natural landscapes of BC. You can reach Ksenia at


Volunteer credit: 3 hours

The Invasive Species Council of BC is pleased to host the 2022 Youth Mini Summit: “Science Communications”, June 2, 2022.

Did you know that you can protect the environment through communicating clearly? Narrative is a powerful tool for effective communication, why not apply it to science? Join young adults aged 15 to 30 from across British Columbia to learn how to be an effective science communicator and how to use storytelling techniques to make your message more powerful and impactful!

Learn simple and practical tools, define and refine your message during this interactive workshop. Participants will also learn how to identify the key components of an effective story and how to share science ideas in a compelling story format.

Workshop presenter


The SciCATS (Science Communication Action Team, uh, Something) are a collective of Vancouver-area science communicators (and cat fans) providing skills-based science communication training, resources, and in-person workshops. SciCATS believes that anyone, anywhere should be able to learn the why and the how of science communication!


By Janelle Bode | Edited by Jana Rolland | May 09, 2022

We’re not the only ones looking forward to the return of warm spring weather- Northern giant hornets (Vespa mandarinia)  may soon be poking their heads out to enjoy the sunshine, too. This invasive insect is the largest species of hornet in the world and brings with it many potential negative impacts to native North American flora and fauna.  

Northern giant hornets typically nest in underground cavities or tree stumps and feast on insects and honeybees. As new queens emerge from their winter hideouts to search for spring nesting opportunities, they’ll be hungry for carbs like tree sap and may even try to feed from hummingbird feeders. 

Beekeepers in the commercial pollinating industry are particularly concerned about the impacts Northern giant hornets may have on BC’s native pollinators, and what effects a growing population could have on our agriculture in the future. Keeping up with the hornet’s activity through the spring and preventing its establishment in the province is critical to protecting the health and wellbeing of our native ecosystems.  

Northern giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia) nest. Credit: WSDA
Northern giant hornet History in BC 

First detected in Nanaimo in 2019, Northern giant hornets are believed to have arrived on container ships. This first nest was quickly destroyed, and Vancouver Island and the surrounding Gulf Islands were declared free of this invasive insect. But the situation on the mainland turned out differently when, that same year, a single hornet was collected in White Rock, BC and then in late 2019 one was found in Blaine, Washington. Since then, both sides of the Canada-US border have been scoured, and a small number of specimens found in the area between 2019 and 2021. 

Luckily for our native pollinators, DNA sequencing studies of these hornets revealed that the nests were closely genetically related. Provincial Apiculturalist for BC, Paul van Westendorp, has set and monitored hornet traps in this region for years. He calls this finding significant: “Close relatedness limits the hornet’s future viability to establish a viable pest population.” 

ISCBC is planning to work with Paul to set and monitor traps again in 2022 to continue monitoring the status of the Northern giant hornet in the BC-Washington border region. 

Asian giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia) nest removal, 2021
What You Can Do 

We need your observations! The best way to keep tabs on these insects is through visual surveys and reports. We are asking that community scientists assist in our monitoring efforts and be on the lookout for Northern giant hornet queens. If you have a hummingbird feeder keep both an ear and an eye out this spring! 

Dr Nick Wong, ISCBC’s Senior Lead, Science, describes the insect’s unique features that make it easy to recognize: “While on the lookout for Northern giant hornets, look for a large orange head with prominent black eyes and large jaws. Queens can be up to 4-5 cm in length with a black and orange striped abdomen. The thorax (where the legs and wings attach) is dark brown or black, and the wings are tinted dark brown.”  

Northern giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia)
Northern giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia)

Please report any sightings through the Report Invasives App or the ISCBC website. Include a photo if possible!  

Our native pollinators will thank you.  

Janelle is a Research & Science Coordinator with ISCBC. She is passionate about ecological restoration and sharing information with others about invasive species. You can reach Janelle at


Let’s get colouring!  

We invite the children of BC to participate in Invasive Species Action Month by entering our ISAM Colouring Contest! We’re looking for drawings that raise awareness about the spread of invasive species. Use one of our colouring pages to help you get started or look to our behaviour change programs, like Don’t Let it Loose and Clean Drain Dry, as inspiration.

Have other ideas? Show us how else you would help stop the spread!  

We will be sharing submissions on our social media throughout the month of May.  

BONUS! All eligible entrants’ names will be placed in a draw to win a cool ISCBC prize pack! 

How To Enter

  1. Create an original work of art showing one way to help stop the spread of invasive species 
  1. Submit your work to us through this page between April 19th and May 30th, 2022  
  1. Keep an eye on our socials throughout Invasive Species Action Month for a chance to see your work featured online 
  1. Check your email on May 31st to see if you’re the lucky winner of our draw for an ISCBC prize pack 

* Full rules and regulations listed below, please read before entering. 

Click or drag a file to this area to upload.

Submission Guidelines

Participants must do the following: 

1. Applicants must use the contest submission form. Submission form will request the parent’s email, the child’s first name and age, and a photo attachment of the drawing. 

2. Submissions will be accepted from April 19th, 2022 until 11:59 pm PDT on May 30th, 2022. 

3. Submissions must meet content guidelines. 

4. One entry per child. 

Content Guidelines 

1. Drawings should illustrate one way (or many!) to stop the spread of invasive species. 

Eligibility Restrictions 

1. The contest is open to legal residents of Canada at the time of contest registration.

2. The contest is open children in grade 8 and below at the time of submission.   


1. Submissions will be shared on ISC social media channels, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, throughout the month of May. 

2.  Participants will be entered into the draw using the email address provided at the time of submission. One winner will be selected via random draw on May 31st, 2022 and notified via email. The winner will receive an ISCBC prize pack.   

3. If the winner of the draw is unable to accept the prize, the prize will be forfeited in its entirety.  

4. No substitution of prize is offered, no transfer of prize to a third party is permitted.  

5. Prizes will be awarded only upon winner verification and approval by the Invasive Species Council of BC. The winner will be notified by email within 30 days of winning. The winner or selected entrant will then have 30 days to respond with their information. If the winner or selected entrant is unable to be contacted within 30 days after being selected or is ineligible, the prize will be forfeited.  

Other Rules 

1. The Invasive Species Council of BC retains the right to disqualify any contestant if the rules are not followed.  

2. Any information collected by registering to enter the Contest shall be used only in a manner consistent with these Contest Rules. 

3. If the Contest is not able to run as planned, without limitation, the Invasive Species Council of BC reserves the right to cancel, terminate, or modify the contest at their discretion.