Invasive Species Council of British Columbia

Volunteer Spotlight: Sharmin Malik

November 12th, 2022

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you experience the nature around you?

I am pursuing a degree in Plant Health with the hope of becoming a Plant Pathologist. It’s been 3 years since I moved to Canada from Gujarat, India. I appreciate British Columbia’s beauty with its beautiful mountains and lakes. Ever since things have started to get back to normal, I have been finding myself more often outdoors, taking walks in parks and hiking in the mountains. My favourite hobby is listening to music. I listen to music all the time and am a huge fan of BTS! Besides that, I’ve always been inquisitive about plants. Each time I see a plant unknown to me, I take its picture and try to find out what it is and why it is where it is.  

What do you like about volunteering and what inspired you to take action?

I love so many things about being a volunteer. I get to participate in various events where there is always something new for me to learn about. I enjoy the events, and it makes me happy to be able to contribute something to the community. Plus, attending events is very flexible for me as I can choose days that best fit my schedule. While volunteering, I have been going to different places for events, and while doing so, I am exploring the lower mainland here in BC. I also get to meet like-minded individuals along the way. What inspired me to take action is to help BC maintain its beauty by lessening invasives taking over. 

What would you say to a potential volunteer?

To a potential volunteer, I would say to come and join quickly! There is so much to learn and contribute to, and you might as well learn something new about yourself! It’s really fun, and if you are studying and/or working, volunteering’s a great way to destress your mind. 

If you could choose to have one invasive species eradicated forever, which would it be and why? 

If I were to eradicate an invasive species forever, it would be Himalayan blackberry (Rubus armeniacus). When I go out for a walk I see it everywhere, so much that in some of the spaces it’s hard to find any other plants. They form dense thickets with prickly stems, meaning you can’t move across them without hurting yourself. Other species of insects and birds have been displaced from their habitat, which also makes me sad. 

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