Middle school class wins BC’s Invasive Species Action Month photo contest

June 11, 2018 – Williams Lake. With more than 160 entries, Pitt River Middle School’s grade 8 class has won the provincial challenge to post the most photos of invasive species found in their backyard in a contest from the Invasive Species Council of BC for Invasive Species Action Month in May.

“We are overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of youth groups and school classes across BC who entered our “What’s in your backyard” contest for Invasive Species Action Month,” says Gail Wallin, Executive Director of the Invasive Species Council of BC (ISCBC). “With hundreds of photos posted to social media last month, these youth have shown us that invasive species are prevalent all over our province, and we all have to take actions to stop invasive species from spreading in the water, in gardens and agriculture, through firewood, through sports equipment, and by keeping unwanted pets out of the wild.”

Heidi Gawehns’ grade 8 class at Pitt River Middle School took first place in the photo contest with 161 entries posted to Twitter or Instagram, through Facebook or the ISCBC website, all tagged with #BCinvasivescontest. They’ve won $350 for their class to be used for a class field trip or equipment. Second prize goes to Maeghan Watkinson’s grade 7 class at Lake City Secondary, with 70 entries. They’ve won $200 for a class trip or equipment.

The cost of invasive species to Canada is between $16.6 billion and $34.5 billion per year. In British Columbia, just six invasive plants caused an estimated combined damage of at least $65 million in 2008. With further spread, impacts will more than double to $139 million by 2020.

The photo contest was one of a number of promotional initiatives undertaken by ISCBC and partners during Invasive Species Action Month. More than 30 events took place across BC, and videos posted by ISCBC to social media drew more than 20,000 views during May. ISCBC also held weekly webinars on topics like being PlantWise, Canada’s Play Clean Go program, update on stopping invasive mussels in BC, and the spread of Goldfish and American bullfrogs.

“Summer is just around the corner, and with British Columbians making plans to spend more time outdoors in nature, we promote Invasive Species Action Month as the ideal time to take action on invasive species,” adds Wallin. “We encourage everyone to learn how to get involved preventing invasive species from taking hold, and how to keep them from damaging British Columbia’s environment, economy and our society.”

About the Invasive Species Council of BC

The Invasive Species Council of BC (ISCBC) is working to minimize the negative ecological, social and economic impacts caused by the introduction, establishment, and spread of invasive species for more than 10 years. Their goals are to: educate the public and professionals about invasive species and their risks to ecosystems and economies through activities such as workshops, seminars and newsletters; coordinate research relating to invasive species and make this available to the public; and undertake and support actions that improve the health of BC’s natural ecosystems. For more information or to find your local invasive species committee visit

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Media contact:

Gail Wallin


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