Vanier students remove broom

Students at G.P. Vanier Secondary School worked over two days last week to remove Scotch broom.

Grade 10 science classes at G.P. Vanier Secondary, as a real-life application of their Ecology study unit, took to their school grounds last week with gloves, loppers, and sunscreen to remove Scotch broom.

Broom is an invasive species. Originally introduced to North America as an ornamental plant, broom was brought to the Sooke area in the 1850s and since then it has spread rapidly.

In Europe, where broom originated, there are insects that prey on the broom plants, but since North America is not its native habitat, broom grows uncontrollably on Vancouver Island without anything to stop it.

Broom threatens our natural ecosystems by outcompeting and choking out native species. It can also prevent reforestation, is a fire hazard, and is toxic to animals and the soil.

Over 70 students at G.P. Vanier, working over a two-day period, made a significant contribution to the broom control effort by removing the majority of broom plants from their school grounds and from a neighbouring section of Towhee Creek.

The local chapter of the BroomBusters organization loaned loppers and saws and provided instruction on how to cut broom. Timing was key and the students cut the broom while it was in bloom and before it had formed seed pods. They were careful to cut the broom at ground level, below any side shoots, to minimize the chance of it growing back.

In some cases, the students had to brave their way through a lot of blackberry to get to the broom, or tenaciously saw through very large broom “trees” over 10 feet tall!

Student participant Justin Doig commented that, “Removing the broom is a very rewarding process because it poisons our soil and doesn’t allow native plants to grow.”

“It’s been exciting to see the students taking their knowledge of invasive species from the classroom and applying it to the betterment of their local community and ecosystem,” said sponsor teacher Kate Peatfield. “They’ve worked really hard to make a difference.”

Ideally, the students would like to see the stream areas they cleared replanted with native plant species. This would provide habitat for native animals and shade that would deter the regrowth of the broom.

The students would like to encourage others to join the effort to get rid of broom in the Comox Valley, as they recognize that controlling this species will require the work of many people in the community.  BroomBusters hosts many broom cutting events (www.broombusters.org), but private landowners can also help by removing broom from their own properties right now while the plants are in their weakest state.

Every broom plant can produce thousands of seeds, which are easily dispersed, so removal of existing plants in bloom is important.

— G.P. Vanier Secondary School

Just Posted

Comox Valley medical cannabis business growing despite impending legalization

With nearly a month to go until new cannabis legalization laws come… Continue reading

Valley Father-daughter duo share a special bond over a kidney

Annual kidney walk is set for Sept. 23 at Simms Park

Stolen Victoria vehicle crashes in Black Creek

On Sept. 15, 2018 at approximately 10:45 p.m., the Comox Valley RCMP… Continue reading

Courtenay getting a tool library

New facility allows do-it-yourselfers to borrow tools

Pacific white-sided dolphins spotted near Little River Ferry Terminal

A pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins spent the evening of Sept. 13… Continue reading

B.C. RCMP turn to Const. Scarecrow to shock speeders into slowing down

New addition will watch over drivers from a Coquitlam median for first-of-its-kind pilot in Canada

B.C. woman facing animal cruelty charges after emaciated dog seized

Kira, a Rottweiler, had kidney and bladder infections

Kim agrees to dismantle main nuke site if US takes steps too

Kim promised to accept international inspectors to monitor the closing of a key missile test site and launch pad and to visit Seoul soon.

Dozens speak at Vancouver hearing that could see duplexes replace single homes

The city clerk says 73 people signed up to speak at the hearing that began early Tuesday evening and adjourned hours later with 34 speakers still waiting.

North Carolina gov pleads with storm evacuees to be patient

The death toll rose to at least 37 in three states Tuesday, with 27 fatalities in North Carolina.

North and South Korea say they plan to bid for 2032 Olympics

Moon and Kim announced a sweeping set of agreements including a vow to work together to host the Summer Olympics in 2032.

Russia’s reinstatement after doping scandal goes to a vote

The World Anti-Doping Agency is due to vote Thursday Sept. 20, 2018, on possible reinstatement of Russia.

Ontario wins stay on ruling that struck down council-cutting plan

The province had argued the stay was necessary to eliminate uncertainty surrounding the Oct. 22 vote, and the Court of Appeal agreed.

B.C. cannabis producer Tilray hits at $20-billion high as stock price explodes

This is the first export of a cannabis product from a Canadian company to the U.S.

Most Read