Biodiversity Under Siege: Teaching Okanagan Students About Invasive Species

Okanagan and Similkameen Invasive Species Society (OASISS)

The Okanagan and Similkameen Invasive Species Society (OASISS) has been actively participating in prevention, detection and management of invasive plants in the Okanagan-Similkameen since 1996. OASISS addresses invasive species and their pathways of spread by prioritizing management areas and species through multi-stakeholder cooperative coordination, and is actively involved in public education and outreach initiatives and community stewardship programs that involve on-the-ground action.

In the Okanagan-Similkameen, there is a lack of educational programming for youth regarding invasive species. Most climate change and environmental related literature indicate that education is paramount as the first step in addressing environmental issues. Youth play a pivotal role in developing solutions. As such, this proposal attempts to address the problem of a lack of locally developed curriculum content around invasive species in the South Okanagan. This is of interest to local teachers, as demonstrated by feedback received by proponents at a Pro-D event held at Skaha Bluffs (Sept.27, 2021).

This project is the second year of a 2-year request. Approved by Regional District Okanagan Similkameen Board and $19,670 was allocated from the South Okanagan Conservation Fund in 2023. The project is expected to complete by January 31, 2024.