This week, February 22-28, is National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW). Events have been organized across the country to help educate the public about the insidiousness of invasive species, the problems they cause and what we can all do to help. Find an event near you and participate and help identify solutions to invasive species issues at local, state, tribal, regional and national scales.
The main event, currently ongoing in Washington D.C., consists of:
- National Invasive Species Achievement Awards Ceremony
- Reception on Capitol Hill
- NISAW Fair
- Invasive Species Kids Day
- Event Sign
- Event Flyer
- National Association of Invasive Plant Councils Webinars
- Southern IPM Center Webinars
- Environmental Law Institute Webinar
- Promo Programa Foro y Casa Abierta
- Event Photo – NISAW 2015 RUM
Register for events in the nation’s capitol here: https://app.smartsheet.com/b/form?EQBCT=a4086abad8544e9283ba92f85be20ce7
The topic of invasive species is one which needs and deserves more attention. Non-native organisms harm our ecosystems, populations and economy. Invasive plants alone are causing an estimated $34.7 billion a year of damage each year in the U.S.. Lee Van Wychen, Ph.D., director of science policy for the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA), explains the need for events like NISAW; “Though the impact of invasive species is profound, there are important steps we can take to manage infestations and prevent their spread. It all begins with awareness.”
The official website of National Invasive Species Awareness Week, www.nisaw.org, lists 9 ways each of us can help by educating ourselves, spreading awareness of the issue while helping stem the invasion of non-native species:
- Learn about invasive species, especially those found in your region. Your county extension office (http://www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension/index.html) and the National Invasive Species Information Center (hwww.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/index.shtml) are both helpful and trustworthy resources.
- Clean hiking boots, waders, boats and trailers, off-road vehicles and other gear to stop invasive species from hitching a ride to a new location. Learn more at www.PlayCleanGo.org.
- Avoid dumping aquariums or live bait into waterways. Learn more at www.Habitattitude.org.
- Don’t move firewood – instead, buy it where you’ll burn it, or gather on site when permitted. Learn more at www.DontMoveFirewood.org
- Use forage, hay, mulch and soil that are certified as “weed free.”
- Plant only native species in your garden, and remove any known invaders.
- Report new or expanded invasive species outbreaks to authorities. You can find your state’s contact information here: http://www.invasive.org/report.cfm.
- Volunteer to help remove invasive species from public lands and natural areas.
- Write to your political representatives at the state, local and national level and urge them to support legislation for invasive species control efforts.