Ucluelet local Liisa Nielsen is rallying local volunteer troops to help eradicate the invasive scotch broom that’s growing throughout the community.

Ucluelet gardener invades invasive species

A Ucluelet woman is assembling a volunteer army to wage war on an invasive plant species and the first battle is on April 23.

A Ucluelet woman is assembling a volunteer army to wage war on an invasive plant species and locals are encouraged to start the fight off right by attending the first battle on April 23.

Liisa Nielsen is a local gardener who has been researching and fighting scotch broom since moving to Vancouver Island in 1999 and she believes the invasive plant has been allowed to suffocate and kill off local species, like salmonberries, salal and huckleberries, for far too long.

“It’s an awful, invasive, aggressive, species,” she said. “It’s not beneficial to any of our animals, it doesn’t produce a fruit, deer don’t even eat the leaves and it’s killing off beneficial plants that help our native animals survive.”

She suggested broom is easy to get rid of by simply chopping it off at its root when it’s in bloom.

“When it’s in flower, all the energy to the plant is in that flower wanting to produce seeds,” she said. “That’s what plants do. Their whole entire life is put towards making seeds to reproduce itself so all the energy is up in the flowers and, if you cut it, there is no energy left in the root to re-sprout so you basically cut it off at its life source.”

She said she has successfully eradicated broom around the Black Rock Resort, where she works, as well as the street she lives on and she is organizing an April 23 volunteer event to harness the power of Ucluelet’s community spirit and eradicate broom from the entire town. This is the first time Nielsen has organized a big volunteer event like this and she hopes to see locals show up and show the invasive species the door.

“I’ve never organized anything other than a potluck,” she said. “If just two of us show up that’s more than has been happening, but it seems like there’s a bit of interest…I’m going to go out and do it and I think there’s quite a few people that are interested and want to come.”

She hopes her first ‘Let’s Sweep This Town of Broom’ event will blossom into a regular fixture on Ucluelet’s volunteer calendar.

“It will be small and just get bigger and then we won’t even have to do it because we’ll sweep the town of broom,” she said. “[Broom] is just going to continuously keep blooming throughout the summer, so if we could do this once a month, or me and a friend or two, we can be a broom-free peninsula…If we all get on board we can eradicate it within three years I bet.”

She said creating a broom-free Ucluelet could be a solid source of community pride.

“It would be a big thing to be able to say that we’re broom-free, considering it’s such an invasive and aggressive alien species,” she said. “It would be a part of small town pride.”

Nielsen has been marking areas where broom is abundant on a map and she plans to tackle these areas at the April 23 event. Anyone interested in lending a hand should meet at the ANAF parking lot—1708 Peninsula Road—at 10 a.m. with as many cutting tools they can find and Nielsen will be on hand to show participants how to chop the alien species down.

“No experience necessary as long as you like to get dirty,” she said.

 

Just Posted

Earth Day 2018 focuses on ending plastic pollution

“Choose one easily changeable plastic item that you can work to eliminate from your day-to-day life.”

Tofino Shorebird Festival ready for flight

Annual event raises awareness of tiny travellers

Snowbirds fly over Tofino and Ucluelet

“We had front row seats.”

West Coast fishers see empty seas, demand Pacific Salmon Treaty funding

“Right now, if this continues, I think most fishermen will be bankrupt in a couple of years.”

Ucluelet mayor says pipeline and spill response plan both needed

“We are a society that cannot exist without oil and gas and plastics at this point in time.”

Could facial scans and fingerprints make you unhackable?

New biometrics capabilities could be a game-changer for those trying to get on your accounts

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Unions set for national strike against CP Rail

Locomotive engineers, conductors and signals specialists seeking new collective agreements.

B.C. woman known to hitchhike around province missing

Aislynn Hanson, 18, last seen April 13; known to travel throughout B.C. by hitchhiking

B.C. court relies on Facebook to track down missing defendant

A court in Princeton, B.C. relied on Facebook to track down a B.C. missing his court date

Cops corral pig on the loose

Police “put the grab” on pig before it can cross the highway on Vancouver Island

Accused in B.C. school stabbing found unfit to stand trial

Decision will put hold on upcoming trial for Gabriel Klein

Producer, DJ Avicii found dead at 28

Swedish-born artist Tim Bergling, was found in Muscat, Oman

Updated: Cars lined up around the block as gas hits 109.9 in B.C. city

The gas wars continue in Vernon, B.C. with prices as low as $109.9 in North Okanagan

Most Read