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Supporting the fight against invasive species

CFOW grants help connect Whistler



Calling all high-school students: the Sea to Sky Invasive Species Council (SSISC) wants to help you get your hands dirty.

Through a grant from the Community Foundation of Whistler (CFOW), the SSISC is launching a new mentorship program aimed at high-school students.

"Basically it's an opportunity for a youth to come and work with our field crew for two days a week during their summer vacation," said SSISC executive director Clare Greenberg.

The job would include conducting plant surveys on land and by kayak, removing invasives like yellow flag iris and learning about different methods of control.

"It's a super hands-on opportunity for a local youth to come and see what we're about, and see if that's something they'd be interested in pursuing as a career," Greenberg said.

The job posting can be found at

In addition to the $3,000 grant for the mentorship program, the SSISC also received $16,000 for inventory and control and $13,000 for outreach, education and training from the CFOW this year.

The additional support is "amazing" for the SSISC, as much of the organization's funding is tied to particular jurisdictions, Greenberg said.

"The CFOW's grants really allow us to address gaps in our programs," she said.

"We've had amazing support from the CFOW for about three or four years now. They've really given us quite large grants to try and implement our programs."

The SSISC has been hard at work in the corridor since 2009, and the efforts are starting to pay off.

"We're starting to see sites where we're getting no regrowth, which is really great to see," Greenberg said.

"It's a long-term process for invasive plant control, and we need to monitor those sites for a few years to ensure that they're eradicated, but we are seeing some really great results."

The SSISC is just one of several beneficiaries of the CFOW this year, which announced more than $137,500 in grants last month.

This year's grants were guided in part by the recently completed Vital Signs report, said Carol Coffey, executive director of the CFOW.

"Vital Signs gave us a deeper understanding of what the needs of the community are, so we know, for example, there is a need to support newcomers, and we also know that there is a great need to support these young families with young mothers," Coffey said.

"We really learned that it's a difficult community for people to settle in and feel a strong sense of belonging, so we're really looking for programs that help people connect with one another this year."

The Whistler Multicultural Network's Parenting Across Cultures program ($1,570), the Whistler Women's Centre's Mama Baby Connections program ($2,175) and the Whistler Centre for Sustainability's Neighbourhoods Work program ($3,000) all fall under that category.

The CFOW also helped facilitate $25,800 in grants for four local organizations through the national Community Fund for Canada's 150th program.

In addition to coordinating grants, the CFOW manages charity endowment funds for nine different organizations in Whistler, allowing anybody to support charities that matter to them.

"For example, if you really love AWARE and feel really strongly about the great work that AWARE is doing in the community, you could leave a gift to the AWARE endowment fund," Coffey said.

"And that's going to be a gift that exists forever to support AWARE."

More information, along with a full list of 2017 grant recipients, can be found at


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