Say "Boo" to invasive buckthorn

October 25, 2023
Kingston, ON


Volunteers wanted to help remove invasive species near Battersea

This Friday, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) invites the public to get involved in caring for nature by attending an upcoming Conservation Volunteers event to help control invasive buckthorn.
Invasive buckthorn has been giving local ecosystems “toil and trouble,” so come help NCC slay this seriously scary and sinister shrub! Halloween is just around the corner, so costumes are welcome and encouraged.
Volunteers will join NCC staff at the Millburn Creek nature reserve near Battersea to take part in the manual control and removal of buckthorn, which will prevent this invasive, non-native species from spreading further. This will also allow native vegetation to flourish once again and provide critical habitat for many species of plants and animals.

This Conservation Volunteers event will be held at NCC’s Millburn Creek nature reserve on Friday, October 27, 2023, from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. No prior experience is required, and training will be provided. To register or learn more, please visit natureconservancy.ca/buckthornevent.

This habitat restoration effort showcases how NCC is accelerating the pace of conservation in Canada. In the past two years alone, NCC has influenced the protection of more than one million hectares (almost twice the size of Prince Edward Island), coast to coast to coast. Over the next few years, the organization will double its impact by mobilizing Canadians and delivering permanent, large-scale conservation, as well as working with people to improve habitats through Conservation Volunteers events.

In the face of rapid biodiversity loss and climate change, nature is our ally. There is no solution to either without nature conservation. When nature thrives, we all thrive.


“Invasive buckthorn is a big problem in natural areas across southern Ontario. It’s important that we continue to work together to reduce the prevalence of buckthorn and other invasive species in our natural areas and across our communities so we can ensure that native species can thrive. We look forward to celebrating this spooky season by removing buckthorn at Millburn Creek!” – Jennifer Gagne, Coordinator - Conservation Biology, Nature Conservancy of Canada


  • European buckthorn grows throughout southern Ontario in a variety of habitats and is often found in woodlands and open fields. It forms dense thickets that crowd out other plants and can alter nitrogen levels in the soil, which prevents native species from growing.
  • This plant produces many seeds, allowing the species to spread and grow quickly.
  • The dense shade produced by stands of European buckthorn blocks light to the forest floor and reduces local biodiversity.
  • There are a variety of methods commonly used in controlling European buckthorn, including hand pulling, girdling, cutting, applying herbicides and burning.


The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the country’s unifying force for nature. NCC seeks solutions to the twin crises of rapid biodiversity loss and climate change through large-scale, permanent land conservation. As a trusted partner NCC works with people, communities, businesses and government to protect and care for our country’s most important natural areas. Since 1962, NCC has brought Canadians together to conserve and restore more than 15 million hectares. To learn more, visit natureconservancy.ca.

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Brianne Curry
Communications Manager, Ontario
C: 519-520-1340

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