For her work on controlling invasive species, a Humber horticulture professor has received the Severn Sound Bob Whittam Environmental Award.
Lynn Short won the award for a method she developed to control the spread of Phragmites (an invasive plant damaging Ontario’s wetlands, beaches and other plants) without using herbicides.
“For the past 10 years, I have been educating my community and working on effective techniques for control of the invasive plant, Phragmites australis subsp. australis in Tiny Township,” Short explains.
“I have coordinated a project that employs youth for the past six summers. These youth are hired by beachfront residents to remove the Phragmites that are on their beach. Without these control efforts, the entire beach would have been overtaken by three-metre tall Phragmites stalks that become so dense they are hard to walk through.
“These plants also choke out native vegetation, making the environment inhospitable for native animals. For the past three summers, I have been speaking to other communities around Ontario to help them recognize the problem and determine some solutions.”
Since last summer, and continuing again this summer, Humber students will work in the Humber Arboretum with Short to collect data and figure out further effective ways to control Phragmites.
“Educating others about this plant has become a passion of mine,” says Short. “I was very surprised and honoured to receive this award in recognition of my efforts.”