The New York State Departments of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Agriculture & Markets are encouraging partners to get involved in raising public awareness about invasive species during Invasive Species Awareness Week (ISAW) from July 8-14. ISAW is an annual campaign to provide New Yorkers with the knowledge, skills, and motivation to protect the State’s lands and waters from the negative impacts of invasive pests. This year’s theme is “What YOU can do to help stop the spread.
“Exotic invaders outcompete our native species for resources and are one of the greatest threats to New York’s biodiversity,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “During Invasive Species Awareness Week, DEC and our partners will highlight easy, everyday actions people can take to keep these unwanted species from hitchhiking to new areas. With New Yorkers’ help, DEC can slow the spread of invasive pests in every corner of the state.”
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “From the recently detected Spotted Lanternfly to Emerald Ash Borer, we know that invasive species can cause severe damage to our trees and agricultural crops, which are critical to our State’s economy. We urge residents to help us slow down the spread of invasives by being vigilant and participating in the numerous upcoming educational events during Invasive Species Awareness Week.”
Last year, DEC, Ag & Markets, the Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISMs), Cornell Cooperative Extension, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and other state and local partners hosted 150 events statewide to teach citizens how to identify, survey, manage and map invasive species. Events included workshops, guided hikes, presentations, film screenings and much more. Organizations interested in organizing an event should visit https://stoptheinvasionny.com/scheduling-an-event/ (leaves DEC website) for more information and contact local PRISM coordinators to have events listed on the public calendar. All events must be submitted by Monday, June 25.
One of the statewide events happening this year is the “Invasive Species Mapping Challenge” from July 5-19. DEC and iMapInvasives are expanding the annual Water Chestnut Chasers Challenge to include a new competition for reporting jumping worms. The aim of this friendly competition is to teach citizens how to identify, survey, and report these invasives, while gathering data for the State’s invasive species database. Prizes will be awarded to the individuals that report the greatest number of positive and negative observations (i.e. no water chestnut/jumping worm) for each species. To learn how to participate and sign up for an informational webinar, visit http://www.nyimapinvasives.org/Training/2018-isaw-webinar (leaves DEC website). To find other ISAW events, visit https://stoptheinvasionny.com/calendar-of-events/ (leaves DEC website).
Invasive species are plants, animals, insects, and diseases that are not native to an area and cause harm to the environment, the economy, or human health. Their impacts affect all New Yorkers. Whether it’s removing invasive seeds from boots before and after hiking; using native plants when gardening and landscaping; or using local firewood to prevent the spread of forest pests and diseases, we can all do our part to stop the spread.
Learn more about invasive species and the State’s ongoing efforts to manage invaders.