News 1130, Kayla Butler, June 11, 2018 - PITT RIVER. A group of grade eight kids is excited that hard work pays off, as the class from Pitt River Middle School is the winner of BC’s “What’s In Your Back Yard?” Invasive Species Photo contest.
The province-wide contest is part of Invasive Species Action Month (May) and it’s specifically targeted to youth to get them involved in something important that they can take into their future.
“Once you start looking for knotweed…you’re going to realize what a big impact it has on the land. People will remember that and take action in their communities,” explains BC Invasive Species Council’s Gail Wallin.
It’s the first year the council held the contest and they received hundreds of entries. “It’s great when you see kids taking and adopting parts of their community and making a difference.”
Heidi Gawehns’ grade eight class took home the big prize after entering a series of photos. Gawehns says she got an email letting teachers know about the contest, and she thought it would be a great opportunity for the kids.
“I have a really great class this year, they’re really outgoing and will take on any challenge. It was a neat group that I could trust to take out into the community to check out invasive plants and take pictures.”
She says her aunt is an expert on invasive species, like ivy and blackberry bushes, and jumped at the chance to bring in a guest speaker.
“It allowed for us to have an outside expert come in and help us too, which adds kinds of a different level for the kids,” she explains. “The more the kids talked about it and started to look around the community we got more and more interested because everywhere we looked suddenly there were invasive plants.”