The City of Charlottetown has launched an educational campaign to combat invasive species and encourage the public to focus on native plants when gardening.
City staff harvested native wildflower seeds and created seed packages for the public that include information about invasives and the importance of pollinators.
A limited number of wildflower seed packages are available at the main reception desk at City Hall.
As part of the project, the city has engaged Enactus UPEI students to create seed coins, which are small discs of recycled paper with native wildflower seeds pressed into it. The seed coin, which is attached to educational material, can be easily removed and planted in a thin layer of soil to grow flowers that are attractive to pollinators such as bees, wasps, birds and butterflies.
Enactus UPEI is one of 73 university teams in Canada that develop projects, events and initiatives focused on entrepreneurial, financial literacy and the environment.
Some wildflower packages available to the public can contain invasive seeds. Once they are established, invasive plants often reproduce quickly and displace native plants, becoming the dominant species in an ecosystem and competing for space, light, water, nutrients and other resources needed for growth. This can have harmful effects on the environment. Invasive plants reduce biodiversity, have negative social impacts on human health and can interfere with recreational activities as well as adversely affect the economy.
The city’s seed coin contains joe pye-weed and swamp milkweed. The city’s wildflower seed package also contains blue eyed grass and pearly everlasting — all plants that are native to P.E.I. and attractive to pollinators.
Milkweeds are key to the survival of the monarch butterfly as the monarch caterpillar feeds only on milkweed plants.