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MILWAUKEE, Wis. (June 2, 2021) – PlayCleanGo® is excited to kick off the third annual PlayCleanGo Awareness Week, June 5 –12, 2021. A week dedicated to highlighting the importance of stopping the spread of invasive species, PlayCleanGo Awareness Week aims to educate recreationists on quick and easy ways to responsibly enjoy the outdoors without spreading invasive species or pests.
Throughout the week, PlayCleanGo, along with partners across the country, will share information about invasive species and actionable steps that members of the public can take, whether they are out on a hike, boating, or enjoying a picnic in the park.
“Invasive insects and plant diseases cost the U.S. an estimated $40 billion annually in damages to trees, plants, crops, and related management efforts. They can threaten the economy, food supply, environment, and in some cases, even public health,” said PlayCleanGo campaign manager, Krista Lutzke. “As people head outdoors, we want them to know that a little bit of prevention can go a long way, and we look forward to sharing easy steps everyone can take to prevent the spread of invasive species.”
Invasive species are a major threat to our native wildlife and ecosystems, with nearly 50 percent of endangered or threatened species at risk as the result of the spread. While often unintentional, people can spread invasive species with the items they move such as their boots, tires, boats, firewood, pets, horses, and more.
Whether out on the trail, or biking in your local park, here are six easy steps you can take to stop the spread of invasive species:
- Clean your shoes, clothes, packs, and pets before and after exploring and stay on designated trails.
- Clean your horse’s hooves and feed them weed-free certified hay before your adventure.
- Clean, drain, and dry your watercraft and angling equipment to stop aquatic hitchhikers.
- Don’t move firewood. Buy it where you burn it and buy certified heat-treated firewood. Gather on site when permitted.
- Before traveling to new areas, inspect and clean your trailers, off-road vehicles, and recreational vehicles with water or compressed air to remove mud, plant parts, and hidden pests.
- Take the PlayCleanGo Pledge and invite your family and friends to do the same at PlayCleanGo.org.
Every little bit of prevention helps and organizations across North America are helping to spread the word about PlayCleanGo Awareness Week, including: The Nature Conservancy, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA’s Forest Service, American Hiking Society, Leave No Trace, Bureau of Land Management, North American Invasive Species Management Association, U.S. National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Wildlife Forever, state parks, other federal land management entities, state and county land managers, outdoor retailers, Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas (CISMA), County Weed Management Associations (CWMA), and Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISMs).
For more information about what you can do to help stop the spread of invasive pests and to take the pledge, visit PlayCleanGo.org. Follow PlayCleanGo on Facebook and Instagram for all the latest news and resources.
PlayCleanGo is a branded campaign owned by the North American Invasive Species Management Association. The campaign’s purpose is to protect our valuable natural resources from the devastating impacts of invasive species while encouraging people to enjoy the great outdoors. PlayCleanGo promotes awareness, understanding, and cooperation by providing a clear call to action to be informed, attentive, and accountable for stopping the spread of all invasive species through all recreation activities.