Invasive Species Council of British Columbia

Volunteer Spotlight: Ava Arends

Ava has been volunteering with the Kamloops Youth Team since December 2019 and is devoted to preventing the spread of invasive species. In her spare time she enjoys hiking and creating environmental artwork to educate others on local invasive species.

What do you like about volunteering?
I feel like I’m making a difference by educating the public and through working out in nature. I am able to work with like-minded people that are passionate about the environment. They are inclusive and I’m learning skills to help me communicate my messages more effectively with the public that will be useful throughout my life. 

I can incorporate my other areas of interest into my work with the council. I am an artist and can educate youth and the public on plant identification through my illustrations. My work has been used to create coloring sheets and educational videos. 

What inspires you to take action?
Since I was little I would try to rescue animals that I believed needed saving. As I’ve grown older, my desire to rescue wildlife has evolved to include the environment and our planet as a whole. I joined the Future Farmers of America (FFA) veterinary program in high school and through this group I also found an interest in agriculture. Through my agricultural interests, I recognize the importance of sustainable practices and I hope someday I will be able to contribute to advancements in eco-friendly farming. I believe it’s important to advocate for the planet and through this program I’ve learned to recognize the havoc invasive species cause in our own community and beyond.

What would you say to a potential volunteer?
This group is a wonderful place to meet people that are interested in the environment. You have the opportunity to learn from professionals in the field of conservation and help preserve ecosystems that you know and love yourself.