Invasive species spotter program hopes to spot and stop problem plants

Invasive species spotter program hopes to spot and stop problem plants

Workshop runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at The Farm Centre today

CBC News Posted: Jul 23, 2015 7:05 AM ATLast Updated: Jul 23, 2015 7:05 AM AT

There’s a new way for Islanders to help keep invasive plants under control.

The first P.E.I. Invasive Species Spotter’s Network training workshop starts Thursday.

People will be trained to identify, photograph and report invasive species, to help catch new ones before they become established and widespread on the Island.

Organizers hope the spotter program can prevent situations like the Island’s Japanese knotweed problem from happening in the first place.

Julie-Lynn Zahavich, a member of the P.E.I. Invasive Species Council, is leading the workshop.

“We’ve learned our lesson from other invasive species that it’s better to catch them before they become widespread so we can deal with them.

Zahavich said invasive plants can affect ecosystems and reduce biodiversity.

“We are a volunteer council so a lot of us are in offices during the day so we are enlisting  these volunteers that are out in natural areas or hiking around P.E.I. to be our eyes on the ground so the more people we have aware of these invasive species and looking for them the more of a chance we have of catching them before they become widespread,” she said.

The workshop runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday at The Farm Centre.

About 25 people have signed up, including a number of watershed groups.