With the return of the rain signifying the end of the summer, it is time for me to to reflect back on my role as the CKISS Outreach Assistant. My contract is coming to a close and overall it was a fantastic field season for the CKISS spring and summer education and outreach program.

A warm, sunny May provided a beautiful backdrop to much of our spring school field trip work. We were fortunate enough to work with kids from grades four through twelve both in schools and at external sites. Always bringing great energy and curiosity, the children engaged in activities such as weed pulls, invasive species themed jeopardy games, create your own invasive crafting sessions and much more. A personal highlight for me was seeing the students from J.L. Crowe’s Adventure Leadership Academy. They came out to Beaver Creek where they had a day of interactive stations as part of a long term program intent on assessing the health of the ecosystems there. CKISS ran an invasive species survey and removal station and each team brought their own unique approach to the activity. It was awesome to see such strong group work in a very independent working environment.

Throughout the season we have run a number of community weed pull events from Warfield to Creston. It always impresses me to see the people who take time out of their schedules to come together for a good time pulling weeds! Some great positive impacts were made and new friendships formed at these fun and interactive events. A real standout event was the East Shore Broom Bash and Basket Making. Scotch broom was the target species at this weed pull event and after a successful removal of all the broom in sight at the Pilot Bay Provincial Park trailhead we headed to the Ladybug café for a free meal and scotch broom weaving workshop with the fantastic Jaymie Johnson (former CKISS Program Assistant). It was very rewarding to be able to craft with the invasive materials we had just removed!

As spring rolled into summer and schools went on their holidays, the main focus of our program switched to outreach events, workshops, training sessions, and presentations. One of my main duties was hosting the CKISS outreach booth at the wonderful farmer’s markets throughout our region. These markets provided a great chance to get into our communities of the Central Kootenay district and have in depth discussions with people about their experiences with different invasive and no-invasive plants as well as strategies to help manage various invasive species. Each market was very accommodating and it was wonderful to have so many interesting and constructive discussions with people from many different walks of life. It is great to see such investment throughout the region in education on invasive species.

Written by Joj Proctor, the CKISS seasonal Outreach Program Assistant