As we near the end of April we are getting ready to embark on another Illinois Invasive Species Awareness Month (ISAM) beginning in May. Central to this year’s events is the theme that “Invasive Species Affect Everyone!” If you live in Illinois, work in Illinois, recreate in Illinois, or just simply breathe in Illinois, invasive species affect you!
Organizations, agencies, and groups from across Illinois are once again teaming up to make this Invasive Species Awareness Month a huge success. Over 100 invasive species events have already been scheduled across the state during May (and early June). New this year will be an Invasive Species Symposium hosted by The Illinois Wildlife Action Plan-Invasive Species Campaign on May 29 in Springfield at the Department of Natural Resources. This will be an all-taxa meeting, covering invasive plants, animals, insects, and diseases. Stay tuned for more information!
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.
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. Just as this year’s theme suggests….invasive species do affect everyone!