Students of Kwalikum Secondary School’s outdoor education class as they cleared Scotch broom from a hill along the Alberni Highway on Tuesday, April 20. (Submitted photo)

Students of Kwalikum Secondary School’s outdoor education class as they cleared Scotch broom from a hill along the Alberni Highway on Tuesday, April 20. (Submitted photo)

City of Parksville, volunteer groups aim to control non-native plant species in the region

KSS students cut Scotch broom along Alberni Highway

Invasive plant species have been a concern for the City of Parksville as many continue to thrive and displace native species.

According to a release issued by Deb Tardiff, the city’s manager of communications, Parksville city council has funded a special noxious weed budget for the control of invasive plants since 2015, which primarily focuses on the Japanese Knotweed and Giant Hogweed.

Part of Parksville’s program includes various volunteer groups, such as the Broombusters who are not only gearing up for another season but are looking for volunteers. Those interested can visit broombusters.org/oceanside for details.

In the release, Tardiff wrote that The Friends of Foster Park have volunteered many hours over the past several months, working in partnership with the city to control non-native species which are out-competing the native species planted in the park.

As part of the city’s program to restore naturalized areas in the wooded trails at Foster Park, the Coastal Invasive Species Committee (Coastal ISC) will apply spot treatments on May 4 and May 5, weather dependent.

READ MORE: No room for the Scotch broom

Coastal ISC will also apply spot treatments to areas along Highway 19A. Signage will be posted where treatment will occur.

If either Giant Hogweed and Japanese Knotweed are known to be within the city, residents are asked to contact the Coastal ISC regional hotline at 1-844-298-2532.

In a separate release by the director of the Broombusters Invasive Plant Society, Joanne Sales wrote that Kwalikum Secondary School (KSS) students in the outdoor education class put their time and energy into cutting out Scotch broom on a hill along the Alberni Highway, on Tuesday, April 20.

The students first learned about the importance of cutting broom plants at ground level before they were given loppers to start cutting. Two hours of hard work yielded three large piles of cut broom. While toiling, the youngsters uncovered several small fir trees and dozens of Oregon grape plants that had been overwhelmed by tall broom. Once the broom was eliminated, they planted 10 small fir trees on the hillside.

Dozens of Broombusters volunteers, spanning from Nanaimo to Comox Valley, also started cutting broom in the same week. Volunteers give their time to reduce the fire danger and to save farms and native species from this aggressive invasive plant.

“Everyone is invited to join Broombusters, even for two hours a year. It was really wonderful to have a whole class of students working together,” stated Sales in her release, and broombusting season will last until the end of May.

– NEWS STAFF, submitted

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