100 Mile Elementary students dug and pulled out invasive plants from Centennial Park on Wednesday, June 13.
The weed pull was part of an educational workshop run by members of the Invasive Species Council of B.C (ISC).
Shanon McConnell, the ISC 100 Mile team lead, said it’s important to teach kids about invasive species and how to control them.
“Invasive species come in and they essentially push out all the native vegetation, and that can be detrimental to the local ecosystem,” said McConnell.
She said they also leave nothing for the native wildlife to eat.
Seamus McGrath, job creation program supervisor for Williams Lake, has only worked with the ISC for six weeks but said he’s loving what they’re doing.
“It’s really important, particularly the educational component, just being able to get out to different communities, get to the kids and their parents and sort of have them understand why it’s important to control invasive species in the Cariboo,” said McGrath.
He laughed when asked if the kids were being used for free labour and said, “It doesn’t hurt, particularly because when you’re in an area near water, like this, you can’t use anything other than mechanical means to control weeds.”
Regulations prevent herbicides and pesticides from being used in or around bodies of water, according to McGrath.
Charles Dunk, Grade 1/2 French immersion teacher at 100 Mile Elementary, said he wasn’t sure how the kids would react to the exercise but that they got into it quickly and were “having a really good time” picking weeds.
“We try to get the kids out as much as possible,” he said, “show the beauty of the community, learn a little bit, hopefully, to appreciate and to preserve it.”
Dunk said they frequently take students to the community garden or on hikes to the waterfall to develop an appreciation for nature and to give them the opportunity to pitch in.
“We can do something good for the outdoors and for the people, too, so that hopefully we can preserve the park as it is.”
Dunk’s Grade 1/2 class along with Marc Dufour’s Grade 2/3 class and Carolyn Cushing’s Grade 4 class picked thistles along Bridge Creek, making sure to remove seeds from their clothes and boots so they wouldn’t spread them elsewhere.
“Humans are one of the biggest transporters of seeds,” McConnell told the students.
You can report invasive plants from your phone through the Report-Invasives BC or Report-A-Weed BC apps. You can also call 1-888-933-3722 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.