Former Alkali Lake Ranch owners Doug and Marie Mervyn have won one of two inaugural Together in Action Innovation and Leadership Awards to be presented by the Invasive Species Council of BC.
“We are surprised and honoured to receive this award,” the Mervyns said in an e-mail correspondence. “We hope others will be aware of and support the Invasive Species council in their important work.”
The Mervyns owned and operated the Alkali Lake Ranch from 1977 until they sold it in 2008.
They continued to live there until three years ago.
Invasive Species Council executive director Gail Wallin said the Mervyns have been awarded the first Together in Action Leadership Award for their work in pioneering invasive species awareness and management over many decades in B.C.
She said the judges described their work in the field as “unparalleled.”
The student winner of the award is Mae Whyte of New Westminster.
“This year’s winners exemplify the best in preventing and managing invasive species in British Columbia, and we’re honoured to have them as colleagues in our efforts to stop the damage invasive species can do to our society, our economy and our environment,” Wallin said.
Wallin said the Mervyns’ work kicked off a process that led to the first Invasive Plant Strategy for B.C., and they were one of the driving forces that led to the creation of the Invasive Species Council of BC.
She said the Mervyns implemented all of the best practices before others in B.C. actually called them “best practices.”
“Their passion, dedication and thousands of hours directly reduced populations of the much disliked knapweeds, burdock, oxe-eye daisy and baby’s breath to name just a few,” Wallin said.
“Today, their passion for protecting the environment continues as they move to ensuring that boats and planes are not transporting invasive species to new locations.”
Mae Whyte is a student in the BCIT Fish, Wildlife and Recreation program who has shown her commitment and leadership through her work with the Stanley Park Ecology Society, BCIT’s student-led Sustainability initiative, and with Metro Vancouver’s invasive species control groups.
Wallin said the Mervyns and Whyte will be honoured in a ceremony at the INVASIVES 2017, annual forum presented by the invasive species council that features speakers about best practices from around the world, workshops, learning sessions, and discussion on what is being done to target invasive species.
For more than 10 years the Invasive Species Council of BC has worked to minimize the negative ecological, social and economic impacts caused by the introduction, establishment, and spread of invasive species.
The council’s goals are to: educate the public and professionals about invasive species and their risks to ecosystems and economies through activities such as workshops, seminars and newsletters; co-ordinate research relating to invasive species and make this available to the public; and undertake and support actions that improve the health of BC’s natural ecosystems.
For more information or to find your local invasive species committee visit www.bcinvasives.ca.