To get British Columbians active in preventing and stopping the spread of harmful invasive species, the BC government has officially declared the entire month of May as Invasive Species Action Month for the fourth year running. Invasive species threaten BC’s environment, economy and society, including human health, but stopping invasive species is possible if we take action now to prevent, detect and manage invasive species.
We here at CKISS strive to minimize the impacts of invasive species on the ecosystems, communities and economy within the Central and West Kootenays. We are going to be participating in Invasive Species Action Month by taking our outreach booth on tour this spring.
“CKISS staff will be taking our outreach booth to a variety of community events throughout our region in order to speak directly to residents about invasive species,” states Education Program Coordinator, Laurie Frankcom, of CKISS. “Our goal is to educate folks on what simple actions they can take to protect this beautiful region against the harmful impacts of invaders.”
The CKISS outreach booth can be found at the following locations in May:
- May 12th – Critter Day
- May 12th – Nelson Garden Fest
- May 26th – Castlegar Garden and Nature Fest
- May 23rd – Friends of Kootenay Lake Youth Water Festival
“We want to concentrate on public education in order to raise awareness on how invasive species can spread and their impacts. Humans are the number one way invasive species are introduced through the horticulture industry, the pet trade and by ‘hitchhiking’ on watercraft, clothing, vehicles and even your pet!” states Frankcom. “Prevention is key: we want people to take action by cleaning their recreation gear and watercraft, choosing non-invasive plants for their garden and not releasing exotic pets into natural places. If we work together we can stop the spread of invasive species.”
In addition to the outreach booth tour, the CKISS will be coordinating community and youth weed pulls along Slocan Lake, within Summit Lake Provincial Park, and the municipality of Nakusp.
“We are excited to get our hands dirty with volunteers and school groups this May in order to remove invasive plants that have found their way into our communities,” states Frankcom. “Invasive plants can choke out native plants, reduce biodiversity and impact wildlife habitat. When we help groups identify and pull these plants, we can reduce the impacts they have on our environment.”
What’s In My Backyard Photo Contest
All across BC, Invasive Species Action Month is being celebrated and promoted. Youth groups are challenged to enter the “What’s In My Backyard?” photo contest using the hashtag #BCinvasivesmonth for the chance to win cash prizes. Visit the Invasive Species Action Month website at bcinvasivesmonth.com to read about the contest and information about how to prevent and stop the spread of invasive species in gardens, parks and forests, through sporting and camping activities, in lakes, rivers and oceans, and in cities, towns and across the province. There are links to events and activities being held by the CKISS, Invasive Species Council of BC, local governments and stewardship organizations across BC.