The mission of the New York Invasive Species Awareness Week (ISAW) is to promote knowledge and understanding of invasive species and the harm they can cause by engaging citizens in a wide range of activities across the state, and empowering them to take action to help stop the spread.
While we won’t be able to gather for invasive species identification walks, removal projects, or in-person presentations, there are plenty of online opportunities to increase awareness. And the good news is that you will have access to statewide opportunities. Presentation topics run from learning how to identify plants information and enter it into iMapInvasives to the more specific info on beech leaf disease, crayfish, “murder hornets”, how climate change, and deer, impact native plants and pave the way for invasives, and more. For a full list of virtual events, visit https://nyisaw.org/events/.
And there are numerous challenges offered this year. Be sure to use the hashtag #NYISAW! ISAW Social Media Challenges, many suited for the kids, include:
Sunday – learn about your local invasive species and share a selfie
Monday – create some Invasive Species Art!
Tuesday – use the Agents of Discovery app to learn about invasive species
Thursday – help track invasive species in NYS through iMapInvasives. New to iMap? There will be an online training at 1:00
Friday – spotted lanternfly is on our doorstep, if it’s not already here undetected. Check out spotted lanternfly trivia and help keep track of this destructive pest. (For more information, visit NYSIPM’s Spotted Lanternfly webpage.)
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection has created the Invasive Species Backyard Bingo Challenge. I have (alas) seen many of the invasive species, but not enough to get BINGO (yay?).
The Capital Region PRISM has an EcoQuest Challenge focusing on watercress, European Frog-bit, oriental bittersweet, and swallowwort using iNaturalist.
Lower Hudson PRISM Ecoquest Challenge is focusing on Siebold’s and linden viburnum. They recommend using the Seek app to help build your identification skills and confirm your ID.
The NYS Parks Niagara Region is also using the Agents of Discovery App. They will post details on their Facebook page during ISAW.
These challenges, and more are also listed on https://nyisaw.org/events/.
And, of course, the NYS IPM Program has numerous resources on invasive species, including numerous blog posts we have written about invasive species and the recordings from our 2017 Invasive Species Conference.
So download the Seek app, head to the backyard and identify some invasive species. Upload the information to iMapInvasives. And then feel free to remove them. This weekend I’ll be CAREFULLY digging up wild parsnip along my roadside. How about you?