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Invasive species exhibit coming to Touchstones Nelson

This raccoon display is part of the Royal B.C. Museum exhibit, Aliens Among Us about invasive species. The opens at Touchstones Nelson on Saturday.  - Mark Brett/Penticton Western News
This raccoon display is part of the Royal B.C. Museum exhibit, Aliens Among Us about invasive species. The opens at Touchstones Nelson on Saturday.
— image credit: Mark Brett/Penticton Western News

Did you know the American bullfrog arrived in British Columbia to supply a frog leg industry that never took off?

Or that approximately 200 million European starlings in North America are here thanks to a Shakespeare fan?

Aliens Among Us is a travelling Royal BC Museum exhibition on British Columbia’s invasive species. The exhibition runs from December 1 to February 24 at Touchstones Nelson and invites visitors to interact with some of the province’s best-known and least-loved invasive species.

“There are over 4,000 alien species in the province and that number grows each year,” says Gavin Hanke, curator of vertebrate zoology at the Royal BC Museum.  “Some of these aliens are invasive – they spread quickly, threaten native wildlife and are hard to control.”

American bullfrogs, Scotch broom, Smallmouth bass and Purple loosestrife are just a few of the species featured in Aliens Among Us. The exhibition tells the stories of how the invasive species arrived in the province, what individuals can do to protect their communities and how these aliens fit in — or don’t fit in — with their environments.

“There’s much to learn about the effect that invasive species have on biodiversity, and this exhibit lets you have a little fun doing it,” says Touchstones Nelson curator Rod Taylor. “Not only is the subject very topical, but we’re really excited to present an exhibit of this calibre from such a renowned institution like the Royal BC Museum.”

A companion website and a mobile application have been created to accompany Aliens Among Us. Both allow visitors to track species using Google Maps. Visitors can upload the location of an alien sighting, images and field notes. You can access the web and mobile app at royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/TravellingExhibitions.

The exhibit opening reception  is scheduled for Friday, November 30, 7 to 9 p.m. and an Aliens Family Fun Day is scheduled for Saturday, December 1 from 1 to 4 p.m. For info call 250-352-9813.

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