Issue 2, May 6, 2013

Illinois Invasive Species Awareness Month

Did you know that May is Invasive Species Awareness Month (ISAM)? ISAM provides opportunities for all citizens of Illinois to participate in invasive species awareness events around the state. Events and programs are being held across the state and everyone is encouraged to attend and learn more about invasive species (check out the ISAM website). During May, you'll be able to volunteer to help remove invasive species, join a nature hike to see invasive species firsthand, or attend presentations to learn more about what they can to do help fight these threats. Over 73 invasive species events have already been scheduled across the state during May (and early June).

Invasive species come in many forms, from plants and animals, to insects and diseases. Invasive species can greatly harm the ecology and economy of Illinois. Invasive species can reduce productivity of agricultural lands, impact diversity of natural systems, reduce wildlife habitat, and limit recreational activities. Illinois has its share of invasive species problems. Two of the most recognizable are Asian carp and emerald ash borer, but we also face many challenges with invasive plants such as garlic mustard, Oriental bittersweet, kudzu, bush honeysuckle, and leafy spurge.

Organizations, agencies, and groups from across Illinois are teaming up to make this Invasive Species Awareness Month a huge success. Central to this year's events is the theme that each person in Illinois can make a significant difference in battling invasive species, whether it is through cleaning water craft, volunteering at workdays, choosing to purchase species that are not considered invasive, knowing proper disposal methods for bait and unwanted aquarium pets or plants, or controlling invasive species on their lands. (Kelly Estes)

Kelly Estes

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