Invasive species are a growing threat in the Sea to Sky Corridor, and the horticulture industry plays a key role in minimizing the risks. At a horticulture forum hosted by the Sea to Sky Invasive Species Council (SSISC) last November, there was feedback from the industry that there was generally a lack of education on invasive species. It was pointed out by those in the industry that some garden centres/nurseries are still selling invasive plants and that invasive plants are still being prescribed by some landscape architects and landscaping companies. Lack of a safe disposal site was also a key issue and each municipality is currently working with the SSISC to find a solution. At the forum it was suggested that a certification program for the horticulture industry may be one of the best ways to increase awareness of the issue and the SSISC is now going ahead with a pilot program.
The main goal of this pilot certification program is to promote effective invasive plant management to the horticulture industry in the Sea to Sky Corridor in order to minimize the risk of spread through: compost; improper control and transport methods; and intentional planting by offering education courses and materials. Each participating company will also sign a statement of commitment to minimize the threat of invasive species in the Sea to Sky Corridor. The certification will be a professional development opportunity and something companies can market to current and potential clients. Participating companies will be featured on the SSISC website and in press releases, and stickers will also be available for work vehicles.
The certification course is free and will focus on proper identification and invasive plant management of the highest priority plant species in the Corridor. A complete guide to the identification and management of all priority species will also be available. The certification program will also include other best management practices when composting; herbicide policies within each municipalities; and non-plant invasive species to watch out for. A tour of the Callaghan compost facility will also be organized but will not be mandatory. Details of the program are as follows:
Q:Who can take part in the program?
A: Although it is designed for those in the horticulture industry (garden centres, nurseries, landscapers, landscape architects) anyone if welcome to attend.
Q:What defines certification?
A: To become Certified you must have participated in at least one Introductory workshop (or equivalent training), completed a questionnaire and signed a statement of commitment.
Q:Who needs to attend training for a company to become certified?
A: For a company to be considered certified, at minimum 50% of their staff must attend the workshop (or equivalent training) and all crew leaders must attend.
Q:Why should companies participate?
A: The program offers professional development for staff and will be a marketing opportunity. Participating companies will be featured on SSISC website and in press releases, and stickers will also be available for work vehicles. There will also be handouts available intended to give to clients on the merits of hiring an invasive certified company.
Q:What are the details of the workshop?
A: The workshop will be offered in Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton and is two hours long. Each participant needs to attend just one workshop. The training is free and a guide to identification and management of all SSISC 60 priority species will be available. Training takes place the week of April 18thand June 6th. Dates and times are as follows:
Squamish workshops: Squamish Adventure Centre*, 38551 Loggers Lane
- Tuesday, April 19th: 8:00 – 10:00 am
- Wednesday, April 20th: 11:30 – 1:30 pm & 2:00 – 4:00 pm
- Wednesday, June 8th: 11:30 – 1:30 pm & 2:00 – 4:00 pm
- Thursday, June 9th: 8:00 am - 10:00 am
Whistler workshops: Public Works Yard*, Nesters Road
- Tuesday, April 19th: 2:00 – 4:00 pm
- Wednesday, April 20th: 8:00 – 10:00 am
- Thursday, April 21st: 2:00 – 4:00 pm
- Tuesday, June 7th: 2:00 – 4:00 pm
- Wednesday, June 8th: 8:00 – 10:00 am
- Thursday, June 9th: 2:00 – 4:00 pm
Pemberton workshops: location to be announced
- Friday, April 22: 8:00 – 10:00 am
- Monday, June 6th: 2:00 – 4:00 pm & 4:30 – 6:30 pm
*Special thanks to the Squamish Adventure Centre and the Resort Municipality of Whistler for donating space to hold the workshops!
Q: What if I want to participate but cannot make any of the listed dates?
A: The SSISC will try to accommodate requests for additional workshops, please contact us directly to enquire.
Q: How do I sign up?
A: Please contact Kristina by email or phone 604-935-7665 with the workshop you'd like to attend within one week of the course date.