DEC seeks hosts for invasive species awareness events

Associated Press 

This Sept. 19, 2019, file photo, shows a spotted lanternfly at a vineyard in Kutztown, Pa.

The state Departments of Environmental Conservation and Agriculture and Markets announced last week that state’s eighth annual Invasive Species Awareness Week will be held June 6-12.

“Each year, Invasive Species Awareness Week programs are increasing public awareness of the economic and ecological impacts of invasive species and what each of us can do to prevent their spread,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a media release. “Public engagement is essential in the fight against invasive pests, so DEC encourages organizations across the state to work with their local PRISMs to offer another round of stellar programs this year.”

“Invasive species like the spotted lanternfly can cause serious damage to our farms and crops,” state Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball, a Schoharie County native and SUNY Cobleskill graduate, said in the release. “Public awareness and vigilance are key components to preventing the establishment and spread of invasive species in New York State. Events held during Invasive Species Awareness Week help inform the public and encourage people to watch for and report these pests.”

Organizations interested in hosting an event should visit stoptheinvasionny.wordpress.com/ for more information.

All types of programming and events are encouraged, including removal projects, science trainings and film screenings. Virtual programs and outdoor activities with social distancing and other protocols to limit the spread of COVID-19 are recommended.

Examples of past events include guided hikes to survey for hemlock woolly adelgid, water chestnut removals at DEC-owned boat launches, holding a social media campaign the week of ISAW to raise awareness, invasive species educational programs for children; and educational trainings to help identify and survey for invasive species, such as Spotted Lanternfly.

Interested partners should provide local PRISM coordinators with information about proposed events by Monday, May 24, to ensure events can be added to the statewide list.

Organizations in Delaware, Otsego and Schoharie counties should contact John Thompson of the Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership at jthompson@catskillcenter.org or (845) 586-2611. 

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