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May is Invasive Species Action Month. Nip them in the bud!

Burdock -- just one of the many invasive species in our area

Anyone hiking or biking on trails in our region may have noticed that many of those trails are being hemmed in by certain plants: burdock with its nasty burrs later in the year, spotted knapweed, common tansy, hoary alyssum, policeman's helmet (AKA Himalayan balsam) -- even, in some places, Japanese knotweed -- and other invasive species.  Yes, all those (and many more) are invasives, and they spread especially fast along the trails because we all unwittingly spread their seeds on our clothing, our bikes and our dogs' fur.

Invasive species displace native ones and usually have a harmful impact on ecosystems, including wildlife, and on the human economy as well.  So what to do?

Here's a message from the Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society:

CKISS is hitting the road and offering a chance to win FREE weeding to prevent the introduction and spread of invasive species during Invasive Species Action Month in May.

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.  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.

The Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society’s outreach booth will be attending a variety of community events throughout the Central and West Kootenays 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:

·         BC Wildlife Federation AGM & Convention, Nelson BC, May 5th-6th

·         Nelson Garden Festival, Nelson BC, May 13th

·         Critter Day, Trail BC, May 13th

·         Rossland Society for Environmental Action Bio Blitz, May 23rd

·         Castlegar Garden and Nature Festival, May 27th

“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. By taking our outreach booth on a tour this spring we hope to spread the word…not the weeds!”

As part of Invasive Species Action month CKISS is launching a membership drive. By becoming a CKISS member you will assist the organization in mitigating the negative impacts of invasive species.

“It’s free to become a CKISS member and it is as simple as finding our education booth at community events or you can visit the CKISS.ca website. Anyone who joins up as a member between now and the end of June will automatically be entered into a draw for a chance to win a CKISS prize package including free weed removal services from CKISS, custom glass artwork from Alley Cat Glass works and an invasive species cook book”states Frankcom.

All across BC, Invasive Species Action Month is being celebrated and promoted. The public is encouraged to post to social media using the hashtag #bcinvasivesand a website has been set up at www.bcinvasivesmonth.com. The website has 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 organized by the Invasive Species Council of BC, regional invasive species committees like CKISS, and local governments and stewardship organizations across BC, including in the Central and West Kootenays.

For more information, contact Laurie Frankcom, Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society, at 844.352.1160 ext 208, lfrankcom@ckiss.ca

CKISS is a non-profit society that delivers education and awareness programs, and promotes coordinated management of invasive species in the Regional District of Central Kootenays and Regional District of Kootenay Boundary Area A and B.  CKISS gratefully acknowledges the support of its funders, including the Columbia Basin Trust, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Columbia Power and the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program.

http://www.ckiss.ca