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.)
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!