Letters to the Editor for the week of October 2nd 

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Re-defining invasive

In your latest article, "Guardians at the Gate," about the Sea to Sky Invasive Species Council (SSISC) evolving from a grassroots weed-puller to an agent of "Ecological Restoration," I realized something huge was missing from this story (Pique, Sept 25).

It wasn't the glorification of spraying and injecting the toxic chemical Roundup into plants, nor was it the demonizing and use of negative personifications on these plants like "dangerous," "alien" or as "sterile beasts."

It wasn't even the perpetual reaffirming of the necessity for our "battle" against nature and that the Gateway Guardians are saving us from the big bad knotweed plant.

What was missing was an elaboration on the root cause of why these so-called "invasive" plants exist in specific areas in the first place, nor did it discuss any long-term strategies the SSISC will utilize other than the perpetual applications of toxic herbicides in our public areas, watersheds, and roadways.

Knotweed and hogweed exist to serve a very valuable function in nature, in this case — to fill the void created by humans when we disturb natural ecosystems with industry and development.

In nearly every account of "invasive" species, these plants see an opportunity and move into disturbed land that has been fragmented and degraded by logging, dams, road building, pollution and other human activity. So let's call them by their right name "opportunistic" plants.

If anything these plants are the true ecological restorers. Maybe it's time we point the chemical sprayer in the other direction and realize who the true "invasive" species are here.

Sarah Bergland


Parents not alone

On behalf of Communities That Care (CTC), we would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to Whistler Community Services Society (WCSS), Squamish Savings and the Sea to Sky School District Parents Advisory Council for the sold out presentation by Dr. Gabor Maté last week.

Dr. Maté's attachment theory, which he has documented in his co-authored book Hold Onto Your Kids, reminds us how important it is for families to create close bonds. If you have read this book, you also know that it is vital for families and children to have the support of a caring community.

It is key that we remember this as we welcome new residents to Whistler, many of whom are away from home for their first time.

Any families with adolescent and pre-adolescent children interested in further support and instruction should know that the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) will be conducting a session of parenting workshops in Whistler starting Oct. 6, and running each Monday (excluding Thanksgiving) until Dec. 15.

The program, CONNECT Parent, is a 10-week, evidence-based program where parents and caregivers meet together in small groups with two trained leaders for one hour each week. Each session begins with an attachment principle that offers a new perspective on parent-teen relationships, development and challenging interactions.

If you are interested in registering please contact the facilitator, Leanne Toews (our local Child and Youth Mental Health representative) at Leanne-Toews@gov.bc.ca or 604 902-0809. There is limited space. For more information please refer to: www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/maples/connect.htm.

Whistler has another resource to equip parents with the skills they need to improve family interactions, Parenting Wisely, which is available for use at the Whistler Public Library. If you would prefer to use this evidence-based program at home it is available for purchase at: www.parentingwisely.com.

Thank you again to Gabor Maté for reminding us to hold onto our kids, and also how important it is to reach out to help families and others that need our support.

Cathy Jewett

Communities That Care Community Outreach

Thanks to our firefighters

This weekend I was lucky enough to be part of a tour of the Pemberton fire hall.

I was amazed by the hard work and dedication of the all-volunteer force.

A crew of around 28, they train and practice in their spare time to help keep us safe.

A big thank you to the whole gang — we are a lucky community.

And welcome to our new fire chief Robert Grossman.

Niki Vankerk


Book sale success

A library full of roses to all the volunteers that helped with this year's Book Sale from book sorters, to book and table transporters, to sales people and tent providers.

And thanks to all the generous donations made by book lovers who stopped by and shopped.

You all were part of the success with $2,242 brought in on Sept. 12 in front of the Scotia Bank in Pemberton.

Thank you again this year to the Scotia Bank for matching this amount.

We are also grateful for the $1,000 contribution from Ironman.

Julie Kelly

Chair, Friends of Pemberton Library

Pemberton teachers thankful

The teachers at Pemberton Secondary School and Signal Hill Elementary would like to thank Michel and Martha for their generous donation of grocery store gift cards for the teaching staffs at both schools.

Your kindness on the picket line was greatly appreciated and came at a very needful time.

The staff would also like to thank the community for its donations of treats, words of encouragement, and honks of appreciation. We appreciate your support.

Karen Tomlinson, on behalf of the teachers at PSS and SHE

To be humbled

In August, Pemberton had the honour of hosting just over 50 scientists, specialized in their fields, from near and very far, as an extension of the Whistler Naturalists annual BioBlitz event.

This is the first time Pemberton has co-hosted this event. As the scientists unloaded from the bus, the butterflies in my stomach took flight. I consider myself an OK self-taught naturalist — my formal school training only dabbled into scientific components. I was nervous. Would they be interested in what they found here? Do we, do I, have anything to contribute to their wealth of knowledge?

We walked through Bathtub Trail as I have a hundred times before. This time it was at a snail's pace with half a dozen or so mycologists — those who study fungi. The sight of a fruiting fungal body on the forest floor brought on a language and vocabulary more or less foreign to me. I observed things I never even knew existed such as fungal spores on an alder leaf.

I learned that over 90 per cent of all perennial plants depend on fungi for their existence, and of the millions of fungi that exist, many only fruit and are visible to the passer by once in every 20 or 30 years! The rest of the time they are present underground.

Later in the day, I was amazed to learn that in B.C. we have about 75 different species of dragonflies, and about 50 of those species exist in Pemberton. Further, most of these species spend the first two to five years of their life underwater as eggs or nymphs. Once they emerge, they delight us in their flight for just three or so days to lay eggs, completing their life cycle, and die.

As we sat on the banks of the Lillooet River at the end of the day having lunch, Lil'wat members Lois and Lex Joseph brought on goosebumps as they whole-heartedly preformed their Welcome Ceremony for these visitors. I looked in front of me. The accumulated depth of knowledge held within all of these individuals sitting on the riverbank was overwhelmingly staggering.

Imagine if one person could hold all of that knowledge? Imagine if one person could know all of those various aspects of nature in such an intimate way — to know the minute details of one species of slug, in combination with the food they feed on, and what feeds on them — and so on. I was humbled. How much there is to know! How much I have to learn in order to better understand nature.

A very big thank you to all the scientists and the Whistler Naturalists from Stewardship Pemberton Society for including us, and the Pemberton ecosystems this year. And thank you to everyone who came out to the public walk and those who contributed to make this event amazing. It truly was an honour.

Dawn Johnson

Stewardship Pemberton Society Coordinator

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