Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Elementary School Drawing © Calvin T. of Woodside Elementary School

Protect the places you play.
© Calvin T. of Woodside Elementary School

June 2013

Invasive Species Awarenss Month

Learn how to protect the places where you play.

Tim Campbell

The warm and sunny weather that June brings allows us to get outside and enjoy some quality play time in the great outdoors. Whether hiking in state parks or boating in one of the many lakes,there is an abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities in Wisconsin.

Along with outdoor opportunities, June also brings Invasive Species Awareness Month (ISAM). ISAM is keeping all of those places in mind with its 2013 theme: "Protect the Places Where You Play — Keep Invasives Out!" It is up to everyone who uses Wisconsinís natural resources to protect them from the negative impacts of invasive species.

If you are unfamiliar with invasive species, invasive species are nonnative plants and animals that cause great ecological, environmental, or economic harm;or that harm human health. Examples of the many invasive species in Wisconsin include garlic mustard, emerald ash borer and zebra mussels. Unfortunately, once an invasive species is in Wisconsin it is very difficult to control it. Luckily, there are many actions that we can all take to prevent the spread of invasive species so that the places where you play can be protected from their undesirable impacts.

Protect the places where you play by cleaning your equipment and gear after every use. Inspect your gear for dirt, mud, seeds and other debris, and remove as much as possible. If you were using your equipment on water, be sure to drain all the water from your gear. Then, if possible, wash your gear with water (hot is best) to remove any invasives that you might not be able to see, or try to let your gear dry for more than five days. These steps are specially important if you will be using your gear in a new location. After cleaning your gear, you can go play with little fear of moving an invasive species! Here are some more easy things you can do:

  • Learn to identify invasive species and understand the impacts.
  • Donít use invasive species in plantings or projects.
  • Plant and promote beautiful noninvasive alternatives.
  • Use local sources of firewood Ė invasive insects might hitchhike on the wood.
  • Visit DNR website for more prevention steps.

In 2004, Wisconsinís governor designated June as Invasive Species Awareness Month. The Wisconsin Invasive Species Council has carried the tradition forward each year since. The Wisconsin Invasive Species Council is comprised of representatives from state agencies, universities, organizations and industries. The Council is advisory to the Department of Natural Resources and helps coordinate invasive species actions for state agencies. The Council, in partnership with state agencies, programs, and organizations, is highlighting events throughout the state to raise awareness of invasive species issues and to educate the public on invasive species prevention techniques. The Council's ISAM efforts this year are made possible by a grant from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to the Invasive Plants Association of Wisconsin (IPAW).

In addition to promoting invasive species best management practices, ISAM has three marquis events Ė a statewide poster contest for 4th and 5th grade students, an education summit for invasive species educators and the Invader Crusader Awards Ceremony. Visit the Councilís website for dates and locations at Wisconsin Invasive Species Councilís .

These events help address educational priorities in the stateís invasive species strategic plan. The education summit helps coordinate the efforts of the many invasive species educators throughout Wisconsin. The Invader Crusader Awards Ceremony recognizes and honors the hard work of volunteers and professionals working on invasive species issues. Lastly, the poster contest helps educate the Invader Crusaders of tomorrow on invasive species issues so that prevention activities become second nature to them. This yearís posters can be viewed by the public in the Capitol Rotunda in Madison from June 7 to 20.

To learn more about ISAM, the Wisconsin Invasive Species Council, or the new Statewide Strategic Plan for Invasive Species, visit invasive species. wi.gov.Learn more about individual species, best management practices and control efforts on DNRís invasive species webpages by using the keyword "invasives" .

To find an invasive species related event in your area, check out the ISAM event calendar at and click Awareness Month to find information about this yearís ISAM and more about past award winners. You can also follow ISAM on twitter by using the hashtag #ISAM2013.

Protect the places where you play this summer. Get involved to keep invasives out!

Past Invader Crusader Award Winners include:


Phil Pellitteri, Youth Environmental Projects of Sauk County (YEPS), Martha and John Lunz, Jerry Ziegler, Eric Tarman-Ramcheck,Ted Ritter


Carol AveLallemant, Jack Rasmussen Lee and Mary Krueger, Milwaukee County Parks Department/UW-Extension Natural Areas, Brian Swingle Paul Skawinski, Mark Renz Wild Rivers Invasive Species Coalition


Alycia Crall, Ron Richter, Lawanda Jungwirth and Audrey Ruedinger, Transportation and Utility Rights-of-Way BMPs, Tom Boos & Bernie Williams, Diane Schauer Connie, Ramthun Peter, Flaherty Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center


Susan Kenney, Roma Lenehan & Glenda Denniston, Peter Layton, Bill Moore, Southeastern Wisconsin Invasive Species Consortium, Inc. (SEWISC), Gypsy Moth Suppression Team


Jerry Doll, Gene Roark, Greg Long, Ron Martin, Ryan Everson, Northwoods Cooperative Weed Management Area


Baraboo Hills Stewardship Volunteers, Tom Boos, Kathie and Tom Brock, Linda Spelshaus, Laura Felda-Marquardt, Eunice Padley, Becky Sapper, Rick Shulte


Vilas County Aquatic Invasive Species Partnership Vilas County Lakes Association, Jane Swenson, Amy Staffen, Mike Fort, South Central Region State Natural Area Crew Rhonda Reisenbuechler, Gigi La Budde, Fred Clark


St. Catherine's High School Environmental Club, Terri Lyon, Betty Czarapata, Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, Kelly Kearns, Kristin Westad

For more information about past award winners, please visit Wisconsin Invasive Species Councilís and click Awareness Month to find information about this yearís ISAM and more about past award winners.

Tim Campbell is a communicator for Unitversity of Wisconsin Sea Grant.