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Aliens Among Us

Would you be surprised if you came face to face with a Drumming Katydid, Red-eared Slider or Brown Bullhead? Would you know what to do if Dalmatian Toadflax or Giant Hogweed landed in your neighbourhood? Alex Van Tol can help. In Aliens Among Us, she identifies more than 50 species of animals and plants that have invaded British Columbia. With the help of colour photographs and illustrations, she exposes the invaders, explains how they got here and what they’re doing to the environment.

In this first-ever children’s book published by the Royal BC Museum, Van Tol has harvested the knowledge of museum biologists to alert the next generation of responsible environmentalists. Her list of serious invaders includes the colourfully named Purple Loosestrife, Violet Tunicate, Eastern Grey Squirrel and Yellow Perch, species that tend to take over an area and crowd out or destroy native species. She names the creatures that can eat their way through an ecosystem, like Smallmouth Bass, Gypsy Moths and American Bullfrogs, as well as vandals like Norway Rats and European Starlings that cause damage to property. And she points out the species that might do serious harm to humans and other animals, such Rockpool Mosquitoes, Giant Hogweed and Poison Hemlock. Some aliens, like European Wall Lizards and Giant Garden Slugs, haven’t yet posed problems in BC, at least not that we’re aware of – but they still need to be watched. And finally, Van Tol raises the alert on species that haven’t yet arrived but may be coming soon, like Northern Snakeheads, Fence Lizards and Zebra Mussels. This readable and alarmingly informative book will help young people prepare for the invasion, and arm them with the tools to stop the spread of unwanted aliens in British Columbia.

Reviews
"Chapters include examples within every class of animal and a selection of herbaceous and woody plants found in BC. One chapter discusses three animals (e.g. zebra mussel) not yet in the province, but likely to appear soon. Another chapter looks at native species (e.g. northern raccoon) that can dominate enough to upset ecology. Finally, the author offers a few examples of aliens that have become so familiar (e.g. cattle) that we forget they are not native here. An important feature is the section “You Can Help” which outlines ways to stop the spread of aliens and urges the reporting of sightings. There’s a Glossary of terms, several pages of scientific names and a useful list of sources, both print and web. The book is packed with concise, intriguing details gathered by the BC author, a former teacher who loves to research. It is published by the Royal BC Museum which attests to its relevancy and accuracy." - CM Magazine, 2016

Additional Information
128 pages | 7.50" x 9.00"

 

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