Carihi student Avalon Fast joins fellow students and teacher volunteers cutting and stacking Scotch broom in an Earth Day broom-bash on the school grounds last week.

Carihi students cut the bloomin’ broom

Earth Day event involves 125 students in removal of Scotch broom from grounds of school

Inspired by the spirit of Earth Day a Carihi teacher quickly organized a broombuster event on Wednesday that included 125 students.

“I was looking for a meaningful action that would involve many of our classrooms,” explained Thomas Diesch. “I drive in to school every day on the Inland Island Hwy. and it was obvious the broom infestation is out of control. Involving students in broom removal seemed the ideal project to connect youth directly with the environment.”

Diesch, 28, is in his first year at the secondary school. He radiates enthusiasm and he was concerned about the enormous amount of broom choking the southern perimeter of the school grounds. He said it didn’t take long to clear the plan to remove the broom with Administration.

He then connected with fellow teachers Alana Jorgensen and Mika Taiji, as well as students from Science, Planning 10 and Social Studies 9.

The Forestry class storeroom housed saws, clippers, gloves and lifting tools so the students were well-equipped.

“The tactics on clearing broom meant separating the classes into five groups staged throughout the day. By the time the bell rang on Wednesday afternoon there was nothing left at the fence line except a pile of dead branches,” explained Diesch.

“It was inspiring to witness what our students achieved at the broombust. The experience showed them what a serious ecological issue this noxious plant has become.”

Diesch grew up on his family’s 70-acre Denman Island farm. As a kid, one of his tasks meant clearing broom and rocks from the fields.

He spent his young life involved in community and environmental pursuits. At 16 years he signed on as a volunteer fire fighter and added to this by taking training as a paramedic.

This eventually led to earning a science degree from the University of Victoria followed by further study and an education degree from the University of Vancouver Island. His career first led him to a job at the Bamfield Science Centre.

From there, it was employment at the Gulf Islands Park Reserve followed by a UVic research project studying raccoons on the southern islands in the Georgia Straits.

This is his first year as a full time teacher and he is very pleased to become a member of the teaching team at Carihi.

For further information on broom cuts throughout the community contact Broombusters.Org or