Each February, the North American Invasive Species Management Association throws a rollicking multi-day party they like to call the “North American Invasive Species Awareness Week” (NISAW for short), intended to focus both policymakers and the public on the dangers and damages of non-native, invasive species. And they’re not concerned with just plants: The NISAW drums the alarm about the dangers of invasive flora, fauna, insects, and pathogens alike. (Oh, my!!!)
If you’re reading this, you’re probably already bought into the idea that natives rule, biodiversity matters, and sustainability is key. But even the most clued-in among us can use some reminders about the ease with which invasives spread, and the role humans play.
Most of us know that plant seeds are easily transferred in the soil that sticks to dirty boots or vehicle tires. Fewer of us may be aware that aquatics of all kinds can hitchhike on watercraft and even travel overland on gear. The Asian Gipsy Moth, for example, can travel entire oceans attached as egg masses to ships’ sides!
Forest pests can move on (or in) cut firewood, pallets, and wood-based packing materials. And while we all know how attractive (and sometimes dangerous) those ornamental plants can be, peeking up at us coquettishly from the local nursery’s shelves, how many of us consider the ease with which they can also hide amongst other nursery stock, in potting mixes, and on home décor made from raw wood products, stone, or even metal?
And then there’s Climate Change… (Yeah, you guessed it, invasives make climate change worse, and vice-versa. Oh, joy, oh rapture!)
There are tons of resources where you can learn more about invasives, as well as about the host of activities (in-person and virtually) NISAW and their partner organizations have going on this year. To get you started, we’ve pulled together a bunch of links, including fun facts, policy papers, social media toolkits, classroom- and parent–friendly graphics, nerdy stuff, and more, all of which can be found below. And, you can read more about what the South Carolina Native Plant Society is doing to combat the spread of invasive species here. Keep your eyes peeled for opportunities to assist in the removal of invasive plants!
Just remember: What happens at NISAW, stays at NISAW. (Except, you know: NOT! Spread the word, not the invasives: Post early and often, using the hashtags #NISAW and #InvasiveSpecies!)
INVASIVE SPECIES RESOURCES (pick and choose, you can’t go wrong. And, if you find more cool sites, please let us know, and we’ll add them!):
- NATIONAL INVASIVE SPECIES AWARENESS WEEK – February 20-26, 2023
- South Carolina | National Invasive Species Information Center
- SCDNR – Why Manage Invasive Species
- SCDNR – Aquatic Nuisance Species Program Aquatic Invasive Species: SC’s Most Wanted
- Invasive Plant Pest Species of South Carolina
- INVASIVE SPECIES
- Clemson University Invasive Species Program
- South Carolina Exotic Pest Plant Council: Invasive Plant Atlas
- Center for Invasive Species Prevention
- What is an invasive species?
- List of invasive species in North America – Wikipedia
- The 7 Most Invasive Species in North America and Their Startling Effects
- 7 Invasive Species That Have Wreaked Havoc in the US – HISTORY
- What Are Invasive Species? – Invasive & Non-Native Species (U.S. National Park Service)
- Seven US Species Invading Other Countries
- Have Any North American Species Become Invasive Elsewhere in the World? | At the Smithsonian
- US Government Invasive Species Program
- National Invasive Species Council | U.S. Department of the Interior
- North America | National Invasive Species Information Center