National Invasive Species Awareness Week is observed on the last Monday in February and lasts for a week. This year, it takes place from February 26 to March 1. The commemoration aims to shed light on the recognized impacts, prevention measures, and invasive species control. It also celebrates individuals and organizations creating a sustainable, biodiverse ecosystem.
There are events held across the globe during this observance to create awareness of the dangers of invasive species. National Invasive Species Awareness Week is an endeavor of the North American Invasive Species Management Association (NAISMA) in conjunction with agencies and organizations at the federal, state, and local levels.
History of National Invasive Species Awareness Week
The National Wildlife Federation defines invasive species as any living organism that is not natural to the ecosystem. It causes damage, including to plants, animals, bacteria, fungus, and even seedlings. These species are recognized predators as they reproduce and grow rapidly, taking over an ecosystem/host plant. In 2015, the first National Invasive Species Week was held, bringing together various groups to promote awareness of invasive species and encourage people to limit their spread.
In late February, delegates from local, statewide, and regional organizations convene in Washington, D.C., to discuss invasive species prevention and management legislation, policies, and possible improvements. Partners organize events across the nation to enlighten the general public and political representatives about how they can help limit the presence of invasive species. The North American Invasive Species Management Association is in charge of the week.
By joining the National Invasive Species Awareness Week sponsorship program, you can assist in raising the profile of invasive species specialists and organizations among policymakers and agency officials in Washington, DC, and around the United States. Sponsors and contributors are critical to NAISMA’s ability to organize and execute outreach advocacy efforts and improve the public and elected officials’ perception of invasive species concerns.
National Invasive Species Awareness Week timeline
The importation and release of several species, including the house sparrow and gypsy moth, become widespread.
The Alien Species Prevention and Enforcement Act states that the transportation of animals or plants considered dangerous is illegal.
NAISMA provides support (training, outreach, and building networks across diverse jurisdictions and stakeholders) to professionals concerned with invasive species control.
The National Invasive Species Act is released to prevent invasive species from entering inland waters.
A voluntary management program by the U.S. Coast Guard is put in place to minimize the transfer of harmful organisms or pathogens.
The ballast water management program is a standard for ships crossing into the United States.
National Invasive Species Awareness Week FAQs
What was the United States’ first invasive species?
Native to South America, the Red Imported Fire Ant (Solenopsis Invicta) was initially transported to the United States as a passenger on cargo in Alabama’s Port of Mobile around 1930.
What is the top invasive species?
Toad Cane (Bufo marinus). The poisons in the cane toad’s skin kill most animals that try to eat it, and it outperforms rabbits in terms of reproduction; each female produces thousands of eggs every year.
Is introducing an invasive species illegal?
According to the Alien Species, Prevention, and Enforcement Act of 1992, animals or plants under the Plant Protection Act or the Lacey Act cannot be shipped via U.S. mail.
How to Observe National Invasive Species Awareness Week
Visit the Bugwood Center
Located in the University of Georgia’s Tifton Campus, the Bugwood Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health is an excellent place to celebrate NISAW. The center was created to further invasive species control, forest health, and integrated pest management.
Post on social media
Support the movement on social media platforms. Look out for educational content and share it with your network.
Research invasive species
The week is an excellent opportunity to improve your knowledge of invasive species. Familiarize yourself with invasive species in your region and learn how to limit their spread. Share your research with family and friends and let them join in on the cause.
5 Facts About Invasive Species That Will Blow Your Mind
One man’s garbage…
Several species like the red squirrel, which are endemic to the United States, are considered invasive in other countries.
Eating up the big bucks
In 1993, the OTA released an estimate stating that over $100 million goes into aquatic weed control for invasive species annually.
According to a 2001 report, the United States Department of Agriculture states that invasive rat species are responsible for over $19 billion in annual damages.
Transporting firewood is among the ways humans inadvertently spread invasive species — defaulters all over the Eastern United States faced penalties of a 25-year jail term and a $1-million fine.
Chicago’s Sanitary and Ship Canal has an electric barrier to deter the movement of Asian carp into Great Lakes such as Lake Michigan.
Why National Invasive Species Awareness Week is Important
Raising awareness about invasive species
National Invasive Species Awareness Week helps enlighten the public and relevant authorities about invasive species and the inevitable damage they cause to our ecosystem. By doing so, people can help prevent the spread of invasive species.
Inspiring action against invasive species
National Invasive Species Awareness Week is a time for constructive conversation and proactive action against invasive species. It is an opportunity for concerned individuals and parties to support initiatives and policies limiting their spread.
Saving the ecosystem
National Invasive Species Awareness Week and concerned partners organize a series of events to mark the holiday. These events emphasize the need for conscious effort to combat the decline of vibrant ecosystems.
National Invasive Species Awareness Week dates