New exhibit showcases ‘alien’ species infestation 0
Fraser Discovery Centre's Aliens Among Us exhibit launches Sept. 28. Visitors can check out some of the region's least-liked invasive species. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)
Inconspicuous plants from Europe, seemingly friendly Asian ladybugs, and even large squirrels from the East Coast have been forcing out B.C.’s native species ever since the pioneering days by out-competing local flora and fauna.
Starting Sept. 28, visitors to the Fraser Discovery Centre can expect to learn about the harmful effects posed by the so-called “aliens among us,” coincidentally the name of the travelling Royal B.C. Museum exhibit.
English ivy, one of the more-established invasive plants in B.C., can spread over almost any surface, sucking up essential nutrients for other plants.
Other “aliens” include Norwegian rats, likely stowaways from early European voyages to North America. That species now lives comfortably among humans, living off trash and other nutritious discards.
Even the common raccoon, native to southern B.C., has spread to other areas where they’re difficult — if not impossible — to remove.
“It gets out of control very quickly,” said show co-ordinator Kathleen Bertrand who is inviting visitors for the exhibit’s 12:30 p.m. opening.
In total, there will be three exhibits. The invasive species component focuses on the environment, while “I Spy” identifies industries along the river. The “My River My Home” exhibit highlights the culture of those who live near the Fraser River.
Centre executive director Catherine Ouellet-Martin said the exhibit aims to create conversation about the Fraser, which sustains about $4.6 billion of economic activity annually.
“Two-thirds of British Columbians live within the Fraser River basin,” Ouellet-Martin said. “It’s also a highway of goods and a huge economic engine.”
Entry to the centre is by donation.