NISAW is Feb. 28 through March 04
National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW) is an international event to raise awareness about invasive species, the threat that they pose, and what can be done to prevent their spread. Almost a third of Florida’s plants are non-native, and although only about 10% become invasive (causing harm to the environment, economy, or to human health), their impacts are immense. Invasive animals such as feral hogs, Burmese pythons, and invasive lizards also threaten our unique and sensitive ecosystems. Raise your awareness and help be part of the solution by joining an event, workday, or webinar!
Have you ever heard of an iguana rodeo?
Suncoast CISMA is inviting local nature enthusiasts to win prizes and acclaim for tracking down invasive lizards. The Suncoast Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (CISMA) is a volunteer organization focused on stemming the impacts of invasive species in the Tampa Bay and Sarasota Area. This year they’re hosting a virtual event where you can go out in your neighborhood or take a trip to local beaches and parks to locate invasive lizards. Download the IVEGOT1 app on android or apple devices to take pictures of iguanas, tegus, and chameleons to report sightings and their location. The goal of the event is to get a clearer picture of where these lizards live in our area.
Invasive lizards like Argentine black and white tegus, green iguanas, and black spiny tailed iguanas, outnumber our native lizards by 3:1! They impact infrastructure by undermining seawalls, patios and pools with their burrow digging. They outcompete native gopher tortoises for food and even eat the eggs of tortoises, ground nesting birds and the threatened Florida scrub-jay. Iguanas carry salmonella and may be aggressive, posing a danger to people.
How about a weed wrangle?
In conjunction with NISAW, the Florida Invasive Species Partnership is hosting the Second Annual Weed Wrangle®, a month long, at-home initiative to encourage Floridians to remove invasive plants from home and privately managed landscapes.
- During the month of February, remove one or more invasive plants from your landscape (be sure to take a before and after photo)
- Complete this simple 4 question form
- Email one before and one after photo of plant removal to firstname.lastname@example.org
All participants who complete the three steps above will be entered into a random prize drawing.
What is a weed? The term weed can have different meanings to different people, in this case we are referring specifically to invasive plants in your landscape. For guidance, refer to species listed in the 2019 FLEPPC List (both category I and II)
Plant native! We encourage you to replace invasive plants with native plants in your landscape. Learn more about why this matters from the Florida Native Plant Society and locate native plant vendors near you through the Florida Association of Native Nurseries.
Look for In-person volunteer Weed Wrangle® opportunities on our events calendar here
Want to keep learning?
Join Dr. Katherine Clements, Ecology and natural resources educator for UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County and co-chair of Suncoast CISMA, for an in-person walk about Invasive Species on Friday (Feb. 25). Registration is limited and required. Register HERE
Easily report invasive species online or on the I’ve Got 1 app for your smart phone at https://www.eddmaps.org/florida/report/