National Invasive Species Awareness Week: 23-27 February 2014

"It all begins with awareness."
Lee Van Wychen, Ph.D.,  Director of Science Policy for the WSSA

Whether on our Native Plant Society nature walks or on your own personal walks in nature, the infiltration and subsequent damage caused by non-native invasive species is evident.  It is evident in the species of plants and animals we are not observing or we are observing in fewer numbers.  It is further evident in the forest understory and the forest floor duff layer we are not observing or observing in thinner densities.  Non-native invasive plant species are not the sole agent for the harm inflicted on our native ecosystems; however, their omnipresence does heavily contribute.

"The damage done by invasive plants alone costs the U.S. an estimated $34.7 billion a year.  Invasive weeds can produce skin irritation, trigger allergies and poison pets and livestock.  They can clog waterways, kill native trees, and shade out crops, ornamentals and prized native flora.  They are found in every imaginable habitat, including oceans, lakes, streams, wetlands, croplands, rangelands, natural areas, parks, forests, urban environments, yards and gardens."
Weed Science Society of America press release, 2014

The statement by Ms. Wychen, "It all begins with awareness", is profound in its simplicity and truth. Many, many, many dedicated individuals have given their time, effort, and resources to study, protect, and/or teach others about the natural resources gifted us. The hats are many:  educator, naturalist, biologist, geologist, philanthropist, student, ecologist, scout, scientist, entomologist, gardener, teacher, mycologist, environmentalist, tree hugger, conservationist, wildlife rehabilitator, seismologist, grandparent, concerned citizen, parent, botanist, agronomist, ornithologist, volunteer, citizen scientist, ...; however, at the heart after titles and roles stripped, it is caring human beings who once becoming aware felt compelled to take action, each in his or her own way, to do something, to contribute. At times, the challenges may seem insurmountable and events heartbreaking, but we must remain resilient and learn. I share with others in the belief that by remembering lessons learned, keeping faith of purpose, and working in a cooperative partnership with nature our ongoing efforts can and will make the whole interdependent ecosystem better.

To learn more about the ways you can help and to learn more about weeds and their impact on managed and natural ecosystems, please visit the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA).  If you would like to join others in helping remove invasive species from natural areas, please consider the following opportunities posted on our Upcoming Events calendar:

  • ONAPA Field Stewardship Day: Myersville Fen
  • ONAPA Field Stewardship Day: Kent Bog
  • NPA Stewardship Day: Gott Fen
  • ONAPA Field Stewardship Day: Jackson Bog
  • photographAmphibianEggs_lkschlaG
    "Be a good steward of the land and respectful of all living things."

    Lisa K. SchlaG