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Editor's Note: 
Oh NO! The charge against Invasive Species is set for May 21st at 6:30 pm ... but no willing warriors have volunteered! 
Instead of battling them on your computer, battle them in real life! Even kids can help win the battle! We have real aliens right here in Southern Alberta ... and ya, they're plants. 
Love the fact that we have rare wildlife? Invasive species eat up unique habitat, making homes for animals harder to find AND these plants often suck up hard-to-find water away from our native species. 
A bit of volunteer time, a pair of gloves and some team work is all it takes. Call Curtis at Helen Schuler Nature Centere - 403 320 3064 to register - and thank you from the Oldman!   

Volunteers help to eradicate Spotted Knapweed in Lethbridge

One of the greatest threats facing our watershed is the invasion of non-native invasive plants.  Native plant communities are the foundation of any ecosystem as they stabilize the soil, provide nutrients and habitat to other plants, animals, and insects.  The rapid increase of non-native invasive plants in Southern Alberta results in: diminished ecological integrity of our land and waters and reduced economic productivity of farmland. 

The three most problematic non-native invasive plant species in Lethbridge include: Spotted Knapweed; Toadflax; Leafy Spurge.  Non-native plant species spread rapidly and aggressively – in the case of Spotted Knapweed, the plant secretes a chemical into the ground which prevents seed germination of other nearby plants.

"Spotted Knapweed has been a persistent problem in Lethbridge, despite our best efforts to control this invasive plant species, they still have the potential to become an expensive devastating problem.  While prevention, bio-control agents, manual, and mechanical control measures are successful there is still a long way to go to protect native plant species." – Erin McIlwraith, Parks and Facilities Technician at the City of Lethbridge

City of Lethbridge departments, including Helen Schuler Nature Centre, Parks, and Water, with the assistance of the Oldman Watershed Council (OWC), are inviting members of the community to join in the fight against invasive plants by participating in a weed pull this summer.  Weed pulls are planned for the third Thursday of each month through the summer and will target Spotted Knapweed in specific problem-areas:

May 21st – Helen Schuler Nature Centre
Media Launch and first weed pull of the season – meet at the Coal Mining Kiosk beside HSNC @ 6:30pm

June 18th – Botterill Bottom Park (boat launch)

July 16th – Elizabeth Hall Wetlands

July 25th – Helen Schuler Nature Centre 
With the University of Alberta Alumni Association

August 20th – TBA

September 17th – TBA 

Each weed pull will start at 7:00pm with snacks, drinks, gloves, bags and tools to be provided to participants.  Prizes will be awarded to volunteers throughout the summer!  

Anyone wishing to participate can contact the Nature Centre for more details or to register – 403-320-3064 – or just show up!

Invasive plants have the potential to radically alter Lethbridge’s plant community – volunteer weed pulls through the summer will be one of our best defenses against the spread.
— Curtis Goodman, Resource Development Coordinator at Helen Schuler Nature Centre

Members of the media are invited to attend the first weed pull event on May 21st at 6:30pm at the Helen Schuler Nature Centre. 

The media launch will provide more information on the problem of invasive plant species as well as showcase the strong volunteer support for the weed pull initiative.

If you would like more information about the Weed Pulls in Lethbridge, please contact Curtis Goodman at 403-320-4985 or email Curtis.Goodman@Lethbridge.ca

The Helen Schuler Nature Centre is a team of volunteers, staff, and partners dedicated to offering a wide range of interactive experiences that connect people to their local natural heritage. In doing so, the Nature Centre fosters a community of environmentally aware and responsible citizens. The Nature Centre is located north of Indian Battle Park under the CPR High Level Bridge.

Curtis Goodman
Resource Development Coordinator
Helen Schuler Nature Centre
City of Lethbridge
c/o  910 4th Avenue South
Lethbridge, Alberta  T1J 0P6
Office: 403-320-4985
Email: Curtis.Goodman@Lethbridge.ca