A Creston mother and daughter weed-pulling duo have been named as the recipients of the Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society (CKISS) 2020 volunteer of the year award.
Alison Master and her mom Catherine Prowse have been volunteering with CKISS since 2007, through their participation in the “Community Pulling Together” events hosted at the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Centre (CVWMA).
“We are thrilled to recognize Alison and Catherine’s years of hard work and tenacity at these events. The Creston volunteer team loves to roll up their sleeves and get involved in a project with tangible results,” said Laurie Frankcom, the education program coordinator at CKISS.
“They can see that they can make a difference in only a few hours and have a sense of pride with their accomplishments.”
During a Communities Pulling Together event, Frankcom said that a group of volunteers use hand tools to remove an invasive plant infestation in their community — all the while receiving hands-on learning experiences about the impacts that invasive plants can have on ecosystems and economies.
“In addition, they learn about plant ecology, proper removal and disposal techniques. These events are highly regarded and a fun way to develop environmental ambassadors,” said Frankcom.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the CVWMA was able to host a Communities Pulling Together event earlier in the year, where volunteers and CKISS staff operated within health and safety regulations to remove several patches of dense yellow flag iris from the wetland.
“CKISS has listed yellow flag iris as a priority species because it is capable of invading new areas quickly, spreading by seeds and rhizome fragments. Once established, it outcompetes native plant species and ultimately disrupts an area’s ecosystem,” said Frankcom.
“These disturbances result in reduced habitat suitability and support for wildlife – especially for breeding, staging, and migrating waterfowl. In addition, the plant can sicken livestock if ingested and can cause skin irritation in humans.”
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