We Are The World Blogfest: Broombusters

I had no idea what I would write (or if I would write) for this month’s contribution to ‘We Are the World Blogfest.’ But…when Richard showed me the following article in our local paper, I knew that it was a topic that I wanted to share. (Click on the link to read the full article…and to see Richard in action.)

https://www.pqbnews.com/news/group-sees-broom-busting-success-along-alberni-highway/

Yes, that’s my husband, Richard, in the far left corner of the photo. He has joined in with other community members to help combat the spread of Scottish Broom. This plant (technically referred to as Cytisus Scoparius) is a perennial shrub native to Western and Central Europe.  A few of its seeds were first brought to Sooke, British Columbia, in 1850. That’s all that it took for its massive spreading! In full bloom, Scottish Broom is bright and colourful. However, outside of its native range, it can extend rapidly and cause much destruction. On Vancouver Island, it chokes out native plants, prevents reforestation and is a fire hazard. It is toxic to many animals as well as to the soil.  A single Scottish Broom plant produces up to 18,000 seeds which can remain viable in the land for up to 40 years.

Pulling Scottish Broom by its roots, and disturbing the soil around it, can cause this plant to spread further. Enter Broombusters! This volunteer organization began on Vancouver Island in 2006. They provide awareness of the destructive nature of this plant and how to properly destroy it (i.e., cut at its roots when flowering). They began campaigns for community members to  “Cut Broom in Bloom.” Since that time, volunteers have spent numerous hours effectively reducing this plant on Vancouver Island.  The day that Richard joined in to help, his team finished making cuts on a small section of Port Alberni Highway. It’s an arduous battle, but visible progress has been made. You can read more about this organization here.

I am extremely grateful for volunteers who take the time, and the initiative. to work together for the betterment of their community, its people and the environment. Broombusters is just one of a multitude of examples of this. However, it does effectively illustrate what vision, determination, proper information…and a small group of committed people can accomplish…despite the odds!

We Are The World This post has been written for We Are The World Blogfest. WATWB seeks to “promote positive news stories that show compassion and the resilience of the human spirit.” The intention is to increase our awareness of quiet kindnesses that receive little recognition and are so often strangled by negative news stories around us. #WATWB, #WATWBF.

73 Replies to “We Are The World Blogfest: Broombusters”

  1. I love seeing people helping in the community Donna and what a great job they are doing and I’m sure you are proud of Richard for helping out. I love these positive stories especially to end the week!

    Like

    1. Thanks, Sue – Richard got to spend time outdoors, had a great workout, met some wonderful people and helped contribute to the benefit of our local environment. As an added bonus, he had his picture associated with a positive story in our local newspaper. It was a win-win-win!

      Like

      1. Hi, Sue – Thanks for the additional “test comment.” My WordPress group didn’t have any automatic solutions to the Spam problem. One suggestion was for you to omit the “xx” at the end of your next comment. It seems like my site my be hypersensitive to comments ending in emojis or symbols. It is definitely worth a try!

        Like

  2. Great to see you here Donna and your post on getting rid of the Scottish Broom. Alien plants are invariably a problem and cause much strangling of indigenous plantation. A problem here in SA too … Kudos to the community for getting rid of it – and to Richard also! Have a great weekend!

    Like

    1. Thanks, Susan – I did receive both of your messages. I think that my Comment System is a little slow in showing that the replies have been received. It has been interesting to read about different communities having difficulties with alien plants. These comments have encouraged me to read more about this….and the solutions found.

      Like

  3. Congratulations Donna on being involved with fighting this invasive weeds. We have similar problems in Ontario with fireweed (not sure if that is what it is called)and with those &*(! Asian Beetles!

    Like

    1. Hi, Deb – Beautiful alien plants can be a real problem. Our Broombuster Teams often receive verbal assaults from uninformed people driving or walking by, who don’t understand why people are dedicated to cutting out “such brightly coloured, pretty plants”. In my comment to Fran, I included a list of Alien Plants and Aggressive Native Plants for the GTO. Loosestrife is definitely on the first list!

      Like

  4. Kudos to your husband and all the other “BroomBusters.” Non-native invasive species can wreak havoc, and both education and proper removal is essential. I’m happy to hear the success the BB’s are having as the result of their continued hard work – that’s certainly something to celebrate.

    Like

    1. Thanks, Deborah – As I had never lived on Vancouver Island before (nor in Western or Central Europe), I had never heard of Scottish Broom prior to retiring. It’s funny how this term in now a common part of my vocabulary! Thank you for stopping by – I greatly appreciate it.

      Like

  5. Thanks, Deb – I am currently gearing up for a bit of a blogging break from mid-June to the 1st of August. I had originally planned to skip this month’s WATWB post…but when Richard showed me the Broombusters’ article….I knew that I wanted to share it!

    Like

    1. I can understand the need for a blogging break Donna!! With all our travelling I’m finding it difficult to stay in touch and on top of things at the moment, but I don’t want to miss anything either 😬 take care

      Like

      1. Ah, that FOMO (fear of missing out), or even worse FOBF (fear of being forgotten) can wreck havoc on blogging break plans. Right now, I think that i have these two forces under control (she says with confidence). Mid-June to end-of-July are currently earmarked for my break. I hope that all of my blogging friends are still there when I got back! 🙂

        Like

  6. Hi Donna – I meant to follow you through the A-Z and then forgot, and then couldn’t find you … ah well – here now. I agree broom is everywhere … and is a nightmare plant as you describe. I’d heard it needs to be cut when it flowers before the seeds occur … I don’t think it’s going to happen here I’m afraid to say. I was going to write about broom … still might – but will take another approach. So glad I’m now in touch – cheers Hilary

    Like

    1. Hi, Hilary – I am glad that you found me. I greatly appreciate you dropping by and I am interested in hearing more of your thoughts on Scottish Broom. Can you send me the link to your blog so that I don’t miss your post?

      Like

    1. Hi, Antoinette – Yes, the spread of Scottish Broom on Vancouver Island can be overwhelming. There is even a myth that Broom cannot be defeated on the Island. However, with proper information and the correct approach — it certainly can. Due to the hard work and dedication of volunteers, the town of Qualicum Beach in now 99% Broom free! 🙂

      Like

  7. What a great idea – we have several species of plants (including blackberry and calas lilies) that have become weeds where we live – keeping on top of them is such a big job for local councils – nice to see volunteers making an inroad into the problem where you are Donna.

    Like

    1. Hi, Leanne – Thank you for stopping by. I always love your insightful comments. I agree that volunteers can make huge positive changes for their communities. The Broombusters organization has taken on a huge task…and have been making noticeable positive impact!

      Like

      1. Hi Donna – thanks for linking this up to #MSLTL – it’s such a positive post and I think any activity that involves volunteers should be shared everywhere – so I’ve added it to my SM!

        Like

      2. Thanks, Leanne – I hesitated to make sure that this post could fit in the category of “Lifestyle” before posting. As community is a big part of lifestyle, I decided to add it. I’m glad that you agree!

        Like

    1. Hi, Laura – Thanks for commenting. Broombuster Volunteers have taken on a huge task — especially since their work needs to be done by hand within a two-month period (May and June). I love how these challenges have not dampened their determination…but have increased it!

      Like

  8. Such a great idea for the Blogfest, Donna! I can’t imagine the work it must take by volunteers to attempt to eradicate the plant! When we were on the Hawaii Big Island, I was amazed at the number of invasive plant and animal species that have taken over certain areas. While we were in Volcanoes National Park (before all the lava closed it), I read a sign showing hikers how to wipe their boots off before entering a particular part of the trail, due to the random seeds that attach themselves then redeposit as an invasive species. Does make a person more mindful!

    Like

    1. Hi, Terri – Thanks for stopping by. You are right, ‘mindfulness’ and ‘education’ are the keys. It is amazing how many people that I talk to out here say, “but it’s such a pretty plant, I don’t know what all of the fuss is about”!

      Like

  9. I’m catching up on my blog reading after a couple of busy weeks. What a great job Richard and his Broombusters are doing to preserve a more hospitable environment for native plants. No effort is too small to make a big difference. -Molly

    Like

  10. Wow! It seems like a lot of work to get rid of these invasive species. Well done, Richard! It reminds me of the times we snorkeled in the Caribbean and later in the Pacific, where the lion fish is invasive and kills off local plants and species. Cruisers (and locals) would attempt to kill these pretty looking fish and encourage restaurants to serve them up. Tricky business!

    Like

  11. Hi Donna! Thanks for sharing this positive story with us at Midlife Share the Love Party. It was great to see Richard involved and positive stories are always welcomed aren’t they? Great to have you join us at Midlife Share the Love Party and see you next week! #MLSTL I’ve shared on social media x

    Like

    1. Hi, Sue – Thank you for sharing on your Social Media. I remain very impressed by the quality of posts that this Link Up attracts. The participants are awesome at visiting and commenting on other posts. This is greatly appreciated!

      Like

      1. Hi Donna, I think we have hit a niche area and because we have limited the numbers and the category we are attracting like-minded participants which is what we wanted. Leanne and I are very happy with the way it is going.

        Like

      2. Hi, Sue – The vision and dedication, of you and Leanne, has definitely paid off. I have participated in several different Link Ups. Without question, I receive the most visits from other participants on this Link Up!

        Like

  12. I had never heard of it but really enjoyed watching the video in the article and learning about it. It’s so fantastic that volunteers such as your husband put time towards getting rid of invasive weeds such as this. Well done to them all!

    Like

    1. Hi, Min – Thank you for stopping by. We live in a small, island town. This morning, my husband completed four hours of yard work for our local animal shelter (including cutting Scottish Broom). This afternoon we walked, and cared for, the dogs at the Shelter. We are grateful to be able to be an active part of our community and engage in many activities that we were not able to do when working.

      Like

    1. Hi, Victoria – My Grandparents were very wise about this, too — both with invasive alien plants and aggressive native plants. Eliminating Scottish Broom on Vancouver Island can be an overwhelming challenge. I am delighted that Broomsbusters and its volunteers have tirelessly taken this on!

      Like

  13. Well done to Richard for getting involved in this, Donna. The world has changed so much over the last fifty years that volunteers are now often at the forefront of getting these types of jobs done. We have a similar problem in the UK with a plant called Japanese Knotweed. However, it can only be removed by specialist companies, and people can be fined if they attempt to move it. It’s even be known to destroy the foundations of buildings, hence the strict rules about its removal.
    I wish Richard and his volunteer group continued success.

    Like

    1. Wow! That’s some weed you have there. The frustrating thing about Scottish Broom on Vancouver Island is that many Islanders remain ignorant of its dangers and think that it is a pretty plant that helps keep wildlife away. Since it’s poisonous to wildlife, they may be right about that!

      Like

  14. Hi, Victoria – My Grandparents were very wise about this, too — both with invasive alien plants and aggressive native plants. Eliminating Scottish Broom on Vancouver Island can be an overwhelming challenge. I am delighted that Broomsbusters and its volunteers have tirelessly taken this on!

    Like

  15. Kudos to the Broombusters! We have teams like this in CA and New England also – wonderful folk seeking to keep their communities weed and invasive-plant free and vibrant. Great post!

    Like

    1. Hi, Donna – Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing. I agree that volunteering for community activities that help our environment is an awesome thing to do. Quite often, the list of opportunities for this is quite long. It is also a great way to meet other like-minded people who live nearby!

      Like

  16. Hi Donna, Loved reading about the efforts of the Broombusters. We need to recruit a few of them to help organize a group of “Kudzu Killers” here in Tennessee. Enjoy your blogging downtime. Don’t fret about us…we’ll still be here when you check back in.

    Like

    1. Hi, Joe – Thank you so much for stopping by. It is amazing how difficult aggressive alien plants can be to get rid of.
      I enjoyed reading about your recent travels to Botany Bay. I look forward to continuing to follow your adventures.

      Like

  17. Bravo to the Broombusters! I am always amazed at how the things that get into the wrong place can cause so much trouble. I was reading in this month’s Smithsonian magazine how the Lion fish is wreaking havoc. It eats the algae eating fish allowing seaweed and other plant life to take over. It takes people like the Broombusters to make a big difference. Thank you for sharing. Getting the word out is a big part of the solution.

    Like

    1. Hi, Heather – Thank you for stopping by. I too am constantly amazed how a “seemingly harmless” plant/animal in the wrong environment can cause an endless string of trouble. I also agree that awareness, knowledge and dedicated volunteers can bring great solutions.

      Like

  18. Fascinating. I’ve never heard of this plant, but can understand how it has a mind of its own. And not a mind filled with good ideas, at that. Cute name for a group project, too. Leave it to Richard…

    Like

    1. Hi, Ally – Scottish Broom definitely has a mind of its own. I am very grateful for the commitment and enthusiasm of the environmental group who are determined to reduce this plant on Vancouver Island. As you say, this group is also very creative in coming up with fun names. Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Like

  19. Hi Donnna, I am not familiar with this plant or the problem it creates. But nice to read about how you all got together to tackle it. Here too we have such community initiatives for similar issues.
    — Pradeep | bpradeepnair.blogspot.com

    Like

  20. I had not heard about Broombusters. Thanks for sharing the information. Although it’s too late for this year, I would like to help out with this effort to eliminate Broom next year. I watched the video, and it explains the process very clearly.

    Jude

    Like

    1. Hi, Jude – Thanks for stopping by this post. Broombusters is an awesome community activity. I believe that they still have a couple of more cuts planned for this year, and they have an AGM coming up shortly. If you would like to join into any of these activities, just write to Joanne Sales. She would love to hear from you!

      Like

  21. So good for a community to come together for a good cause like this! This reminds me of what I was told about pampas grass. I love pampas grass, I think it is so pretty but when I inquired about it, a local retailer told me they do not and will not ever sell it as it is so invasive! Now I’m reminded of kudzu, it spreads like crazy!!

    Like

    1. Hi, Dee – It’s lovely to hear from you. Thank you so much for stopping by. I agree that some plants can be very deceptive. When we first moved to Vancouver Island and I saw all of the Scottish Broom, I thought that it was beautiful!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s