This summer, Western New York Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (WNY PRISM) increased its profile at education and outreach initiatives across the community. Equipped with large displays, informative handouts, and specimens, staff attended local fairs, farmers’ markets, and other gatherings to raise awareness of the environmental, economic, and human health effects invasive species have on our region.
Over the summer months, WNY PRISM staff directly engaged more than 1,200 people at 22 different events—ranging from widely attended festivals like the Erie County Fair and Canal Fest of the Tonawandas, to smaller local gatherings such as Great Lakes Awareness Day.
Discussions were varied based on geographic location; proximity to urban, suburban, and rural settings; and economic and environmental interests. Questions and concerns raised by the public helped drive changes in the outreach topics and materials WNY PRISM developed. Certain species, like the emerald ash borer and zebra mussels, had greater recognition due to media exposure and initiatives such as “Don’t Move Firewood” and “Clean, Drain, and Dry.” This allowed for more in-depth conversations about similar species and important early detection species such Asian longhorned beetle and water chestnut.
New outreach materials such as “Plant Wise” were added in order to promote the planting of native vegetation in yards and gardens, while also raising awareness of common invasive cultivators. WNY PRISM also held invasive species identification and mapping workshops.
Invasive species management doesn’t stop at education and outreach. The WNY PRISM Invasive Species Management Crew conducted invasive species mapping surveys at 19 different locations throughout the area. Surveys encompassed an array of different landscapes—from the established nature preserve at Reinstein Woods, to the forested hills of Allegany State Park, and waterways of Tonawanda Creek.
Over 2,500 observations were made during the course of this summer, including 60 different invasive species. All data collected data can be found at imapinvasives.org.
Invasive plant eradication projects were also implemented at various nature preserves throughout Western New York, including Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum) and pale swallow-wort (Cynachum rossicum) removal at Tifft Nature Preserve, invasive brush removal at WNY Land Conservancy’s Niagara Escarpment Preserve, and water chestnut removal at Jamestown Audubon.
WNY PRISM is a sponsored program through the Research Foundation of SUNY and is hosted by Buffalo State's Great Lakes Center.
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