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Two Castlegar residents recognized with volunteer of the year awards for invasive species work

Olga Hollborg and Tanmay Deshpande are the Central Kootenay Invasive Species Volunteers of the Year
Olga Hollborg was recognized with the Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society 2022 Volunteer of the Year Award. Photo: Submitted

Submitted by Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society

Castlegar residents Olga Hollborg and Tanmay Deshpande are the recipients of the Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society (CKISS) 2022 Volunteer of the Year Award. Every year CKISS recognizes community members who go above and beyond to make a positive difference to their organization and the world around them.

The first recipient, Olga Hallborg, is passionate about environmental action that addresses biodiversity loss and climate change. She first volunteered with CKISS at a restoration event at the Snk’mip wetland in 2020. During the event she shared with CKISS that she was helping the Kootenay Native Plant Society with their Kootenay Gallery garden enhancement project in order to create habitat for bees and butterflies. She asked if CKISS wanted to get involved. CKISS advised Olga of their community weed pull program.

During a Communities Pulling Together event, a group of volunteers uses hand tools to remove an invasive plant infestation in their community. Volunteers receive hands-on learning experiences on the impacts invasive plants can have on ecosystems and economies. In addition, they learn about plant ecology, proper removal and disposal techniques. These events are highly regarded and a fun way to develop environmental ambassadors.

Community groups that successfully complete a weed pull event receive a $250 honorarium. Olga Hallborg, successfully recruited a group of volunteers to participate in a Community Weed Pull at the Kootenay Gallery area in both 2021 and 2022 to remove invasive Scotch broom. The event raised $500 and it went towards the Kootenay Gallery garden enhancement project.

The second recipient is Tanmay Deshpande, who recently relocated to the Central Kootenay Region and now calls Castlegar home. Tanmay, first volunteered with CKISS at a native planting day at the Kootenay Gallery in 2021. He took the initiative to seek additional volunteer opportunities using his technology skills. Over the winter months he utilized his website development experience and helped CKISS streamline their on-line membership process.

“We are thrilled to recognize Olga and Tanmay. All of their volunteer work is greatly appreciated. It is clear that they both care deeply about their community and want to make the world a better place. It is inspirational to witness such dedication in our region.” states CKISS Education Program Coordinator Laurie Frankcom

If you are interested in organizing a Community Weed Pull in your area please reach out to Laurie Frankcom, 1-844-352-1160 ext. 208 or

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Betsy Kline

About the Author: Betsy Kline

After spending several years as a freelance writer for the Castlegar News, Betsy joined the editorial staff as a reporter in March of 2015. In 2020, she moved into the editor's position.
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