Community

Talk About Weeds: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

Invasive plant expert Rachelle McElroy spraying knotweed, an invasive plant found on Vancouver Island. Learn more at a special presentation on March 16. - Photo courtesy of the Coastal Invasive Species Committee
Invasive plant expert Rachelle McElroy spraying knotweed, an invasive plant found on Vancouver Island. Learn more at a special presentation on March 16.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of the Coastal Invasive Species Committee

By Terri Perrin

With the snow finally gone, many people are looking longingly at their gardens and starting to think spring. They're noticing trees and shrubs beginning to bud, snowdrops starting to bloom, and how much those darn weeds have grown over this long cold winter!

According to Rachelle McElroy, Executive Director of the Coastal Invasive Species Committee, you should be forewarned that some of those weeds might require special attention. They could be amongst a wide range of non-native plant species that may be invasive and could be dangerous.

"Invasive and toxic weeds should be of concern to everyone, but especially to people with children, pets, or livestock," says Back Country Horsemen of BC's Sharon Pickthorne. "As trail riders, our members have an advantage -- sitting on horseback a good nine feet off the ground --  we are able to spot invasive weeds, we then report the sighting to the proper authorities. To better educate our members, BCHBC North Vancouver Island Chapter has invited McElroy to our March 16 meeting to talk about Weeds: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

"Anyone interested in learning more about invasive plant species on Vancouver Island will find this talk interesting," adds Pickthorne. "Rachelle promises that all attendees will come away with a solid understanding of the most common invasive plant species: how they got here and their toxicity to people and animals. She will discuss various methods of invasive plant control, weed-free forage, and how to be 'Plant Wise' in an effort to protect BC lands from such nasty species such as knotweed, hogweed, Spartina grasses and much more."

McElroy was selected for this lecture because of her work with the Coastal Invasive Species Committee as well as her background in sustainable and 'green' living. She has a degree in Environmental Science from Royal Roads University and earned a Master's degree in Leadership and Sustainability at a university is Sweden.

The BCHBC meeting will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 16 at the Grantham Hall, 6040 Old Island Highway, across from NIDES. Anyone interested in learning more about invasive weeds is welcome to attend. Admission is free for BCHBC members and by donation for guests. Refreshments will be served after the meeting. Pre-registration is not required.

Learn more about the Coastal Invasive Species Committee at www.coastalisc.com.

For more information on the North Vancouver Island Chapter of the Back Country Horsemen contact Sharon Pickthorne at 250.337.1818 or visit www.bchorsemen.org.

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