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Slow the Spread: National Invasive Species Awareness Week Encourages Outreach and Education

WESTMINSTER, Colorado – May 15, 2020 – “Slow the spread” is an unexpected catchphrase this summer due to the global coronavirus pandemic. And now experts with the Weed Science Society of America say a similar “slow the spread” approach is vital to the management of invasive and noxious weeds and other harmful pests.

“Slowing the spread of invasive and noxious weeds is something land and water managers have been dealing with for decades,” says Lee Van Wychen, Ph.D., WSSA executive director of science policy.  “If each of us stays informed and commits to taking action, we can focus on prevention and can detect new infestations early to limit their impact.”

The upcoming National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW) scheduled for May 16-23 focuses on information each of us can put to use to slow the spread of unwanted invaders.  Here are 10 ways to take action:

  1. Learn about invasive weeds, especially those found in your region. Your county extension office and the National Invasive Species Information Center are both trusted resources.
  2. Clean your hiking boots, waders, boats and trailers, off-road vehicles and other gear to stop invasive weeds from hitching a ride to a new location. Learn more at playcleango.org.
  3. Avoid dumping aquariums or live bait into waterways. Learn more at habitattitude.net.
  4. Clean your fishing equipment and don’t dump live bait. Learn more at http://stopaquatichitchhikers.org.
  5. Don’t move firewood over long distances. Instead, buy it where you’ll burn it, or gather on site when permitted. Learn more at dontmovefirewood.org.
  6. Buy forage, hay, mulch and soil that are certified “weed free.” Learn more at naisma.org/programs/weed-free-standards.
  7. Report new or expanding invasive weed infestations to authorities at invasive.org/report.cfm.
  8. Ask your local, state and national political representatives to support invasive and noxious weed management efforts.
  9. Plant only non-invasive plants in your garden and remove any known invaders.
  10. Share your NISAW activities with friends and followers via text message and social media. Don’t forget to use the hashtags #NISAW and #InvasiveSpecies!

There will also be four free webinars during NISAW that are open to the public:

  • May 18: Invasive Species Prevention Outreach Brands and How to Use Them
  • May 19: EmpowerU! Learn How to Help Your Audience Engage Decision Makers
  • May 20: Public Gardens as Sentinels Against Invasive Plants
  • May 21: Successful Aquatic Plant Management Strategies Across the United States

You can register at: www.naisma.org/programs/nisaw/#webinars.

Rob Richardson, Ph.D., WSSA’s Noxious and Invasive Weeds Committee chair, will present the May 21 webinar on aquatic plant management strategies. “It’s critical that we use integrated approaches with a combination of biological controls, cultural practices, herbicides, mechanical tools, nutrient management and prevention efforts to help stop the spread of invasive aquatic weeds,” Richardson says.

Since weeds know no borders, the Canadian Council on Invasive Species is also sponsoring free webinars during NISAW, including:

  • May 19: Preventing Aquatic Invasive Species through Clean Drain Dry
  • May 20: Be Plant Wise: Preventing the Spread of Garden Invaders through Partnership
  • May 21: Reducing the Spread of Invasive Species through Play Clean Go

To register, visit https://canadainvasives.ca/programs/resources.

A downloadable media toolkit, social media posts and graphics, templates for a press release and radio public service announcements for NISAW are available at www.nisaw.org/resources.

About the Weed Science Society of America

The Weed Science Society of America, a nonprofit scientific society, was founded in 1956 to encourage and promote the development of knowledge concerning weeds and their impact on the environment. The Society promotes research, education and extension outreach activities related to weeds, provides science-based information to the public and policy makers, fosters awareness of weeds and their impact on managed and natural ecosystems, and promotes cooperation among weed science organizations across the nation and around the world.  For more information, visit www.wssa.net.

Press Contact:                                               

Lee Van Wychen 

Executive Director of Science Policy

National & Regional Weed Science Societies

[email protected]