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For Release: Thursday, April 2, 2020

DEC and Agriculture and Markets Announce Seventh Annual Invasive Species Awareness Week June 7-13

State Agencies Encourage Partners to Start Planning Virtual Events

The State Departments of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Agriculture and Markets today announced that New York State's seventh annual Invasive Species Awareness Week (ISAW) will be held June 7-13. ISAW is an annual educational campaign featuring numerous statewide events focused on invasive species. During the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis, organizations are encouraged to plan virtual experiences and events that incorporate social distancing guidelines and give New Yorkers the opportunity to participate from the safety of their homes.

"New York State agencies and local groups held more than 180 events across the state in 2019, raising awareness about invasive species and encouraging New Yorkers to become active in protecting their communities," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "DEC encourages academic institutions, environmental organizations, municipal groups, and others to work with their local Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM) to develop new programs, including virtual programs accessible on-line, for the seventh annual Invasive Species Awareness Week."

"New Yorkers are a critical component of our invasive species outreach programs, helping us to monitor for invasives and slow the damage that they do to our natural resources and agricultural industries," said State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball. "We encourage New Yorkers to take part in some virtual experiences this Invasive Species Awareness Week and learn more about how to spot these non-native species and protect our agricultural industry and the environment."

Initiated in 2014, ISAW's goal is to engage citizens in activities that promote an understanding of invasive species and their negative impacts and empower people to take action to help stop the spread of these invasive pests. New York State is particularly vulnerable to invasive species due to its role as a center for international trade and travel. Managing invasive species is a long-term effort and requires collaboration from state agencies, stakeholder organizations, and the public.

Partners interested in hosting an event should visit the New York Invasive Species Awareness Week website (leaves DEC website) for more information. All types of programming and events are encouraged, with a new focus on virtual programs and experiences.

Partners should provide local PRISM coordinators with information about local events by Monday, May 25, to ensure they can be added to the statewide list. To learn more about ISAW, or to find a local PRISM website, visit the New York Invasive Species Awareness Week website (leaves DEC website).

Press Contacts:

NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Press Office, Lori Severino, Lori.Severino@dec.ny.gov, (518) 402-8000

NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, Press Office, Jola Szubielski, Jola.Szubielski@agriculture.ny.gov, (518) 457-0752

NY Invasive Species Advisory Committee, Chair:

Renee St. Jacques, New York Farm Bureau, Assistant Director of Public Policy, RSt.Jacques@nyfb.org, (518) 436-8495

2020 ISAW Planning Committee Chair:

Molly Hassett, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Molly.Hassett@dec.ny.gov, (518) 408-0978

Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM) Staff:

Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program, Tammara Van Ryn, tammara.vanryn@tnc.org, (518) 576-2082

Capital Region, Kristopher Williams, kbw44@cornell.edu, (518) 885-8995 Ext. 2218

Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership, John Thompson, jthompson@catskillcenter.org, (845) 586-2611

Finger Lakes, Hilary Mosher, mosher@hws.edu, (315) 781-4385

Long Island Invasive Species Management Area, Bill Jacobs, liismaprism@gmail.com, (631) 560-9945

Lower Hudson, Linda Rohleder, lrohleder@nynjtc.org, (201) 512-9348 Ext. 821

St. Lawrence and Eastern Lake Ontario, Megan Pistolese, megan.pistolese@tnc.org, (315) 387-3600 Ext. 7724

Western New York, Emily Thiel, thieles@buffalostate.edu, (716) 878-4708

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