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Don't Let Invasive Species
Hitch a Ride!

gypsy moth

Hey, can I have a ride?

You might not be driving yet, but you can still pick up hitchhikers. Have you ever been hiking and discovered seeds stuck to your socks when you got home? That's how some plants transport their seeds--by sticking to people and animals. It's not a bad way to get around and lots of plants that are native to Wisconsin do this. But, there are also invasive species, plants and animals that don't belong in Wisconsin, that sometimes hitch a ride to a new place. This isn't good. Invasive species tend to take over habitats. This means some of our native plants and animals don't have as many places to live and as much food to eat. And, some invaders, like the gypsy moth and emerald ash borer, kill native trees. Don't let an invader hitch a ride with you!

When you are outdoors hiking, camping, or fishing there are some things you can do to help keep invasive species from catching a ride into new areas....

  • Brush or pick seed off of your clothes or gear before leaving an area. If you find seeds when your get home, be sure to put them in the trash and not outdoors.
  • Clean the coats and feet of pets and get rid of any seeds and plant parts you find.
  • Clean soil out of shoes and your bike tire treads after biking on trails--bag the dirt and put it in the trash.
  • Stay on the trails when you're hiking so you don't accidentally pick up an invader.
  • If you're helping gather firewood--be sure you don't move it from one place to the next. Use it right where you are.
  • When you're out fishing or boating, help check that the boat and trailer are clean of hitchhiking plants and animals before you leave the boat landing and head to a new lake. And, be sure to drain the extra water out of the boat too.
  • Spread the word--not the invaders! Help teach other people about invasive species.

    You can learn more about invasive species by checking out the following:

  • EEK!-Environmental Education for Kids, Alien Invaders
  • Lurkers Going Berserk

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