Invasive Species Council of British Columbia

By Lisa Houle | June 1st, 2022

The Invasive Species Council of BC is pleased to announce the winners of the 2022 ‘Together in Action’ Awards recognizing leaders in invasive species prevention, management, and education. These annual awards are presented each May during Invasive Species Action Month.  

“When you see someone take action to make a difference in a meaningful way, it’s inspiring. The ‘Together In Action’ awards celebrate those who make exceptional contributions to protecting our natural spaces from invasive species,” said ISCBC Board Chair Eric Nijboer. “This year, we recognize two incredible leaders who are innovative in their approach to prevention and management of invasive species, and who are doing great work to raise awareness of this critical issue. These awards are made possible by our sponsor NATS Nursery, a long-time friend and partner of ISCBC. Congratulations to this year’s recipients!” 

The ‘Together in Action’ Student Leadership Award recipient is Matthew Syvenky of Burnaby. Matthew started volunteering with ISCBC in 2020. He has since dedicated 750 hours to this program! Matthew has volunteered with numerous organizations on restoration projects removing invasive species and planting native plants. He has been awarded the Certified Wildlife Friendly Habitat credential from the Canadian Wildlife Federation, is a member of the Cariboo Heights Forest Preservation Society’s Board of Directors and the youngest member of BC Nature’s Climate Committee, and he has received an internship with Ocean Wise’s Ocean Bridge Direct Action program, just to name a few accomplishments!  

Matthew is a student at Simon Fraser University where he recently helped facilitate their annual Environmental Stewardship Event. Matthew says:  

“Being with the Council over the last couple years has been one of the best decisions I have ever made! Since I started volunteering with the Council, I have made so many connections with people who share  similar interests to me. The Council’s volunteer program has helped me learn so much about myself, BC’s ecosystems, and the role we can all play in protecting our province’s biodiversity.” The ‘Student Leadership Award’ comes with a $1,000 scholarship, made possible by our sponsor NATS Nursery. 

The ‘Together in Action’ Innovation and Leadership Award recipient for 2022 is Lorna Shuter. Lorna is deeply connected to the world of plants in her work as manager of the Shulus Community Garden just outside of Merritt, BC. This four-acre garden supports the Lower Nicola Indian Band (LNIB) “Sustainable Food Security Initiative.” Lorna empowers community members to grow their own food. As part of this, she raises awareness, and shares her knowledge of invasive species. 

Farming and growing your own food on a significant scale often requires innovation. Lorna has leaned on ‘Joe’s Goats’ for help managing weeds and invasive species. This crew of four-legged helpers thoroughly enjoy munching on unwanted invasives! Lorna says:  

“It seems natural for me and our garden team to recognize the invasive plant species, and to do what we can to eradicate them in the most natural way possible. Goats are the most efficient way to completely eradicate weeds without the use of herbicides. It is important to have goats eat the weeds over several years. The goats’ stomachs are so acidic that the seeds are thoroughly digested that they don’t stand a chance to regrow once in the goat’s stomach.”   

Lorna’s commitment to her community and her passion for managing invasive species with sustainability and respect for the land is at the heart of everything she does. 

Thank you once again to NATS Nursey for sponsoring the 2022 ‘Together in Action’ Awards. NATS Nursery is committed to providing the best quality Pacific Northwest plants possible to the global market for restoration, reclamation, reforestation, sustainable gardening, construction and more. 

ISCBC wishes to extend gratitude and thanks to each of the 2022 ‘Together in Action’ award nominees and recipients for their contributions towards invasive species management and prevention in BC.  

Lisa is the 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