Looking for a New Year’s resolution? We’ve got you covered.
The new year has many of us motivated by the possibility of the year ahead. We’re making plans, setting new goals, and resolving to do this or that. As you’re resolution-ing, why not consider adopting one small action each month to help protect Alaska’s wildlife and promote healthy ecosystems?
Here are some ideas – a few small things you can do to make a big difference when it comes to invasive species:
Start at the beginning. Resolve to learn about one invasive species in your area each week this month. Feeling extra ambitious? Learn about one invasive species each month for the rest of the year. Knowing how to recognize invasive species is the first step in prevention.
Resolve to become familiar with invasive species reporting tools and how to use them.
Gardening season is right around the corner. As you plan your spring planting projects, resolve to choose plants carefully to avoid planting a problem. Is that seemingly perfect tree invasive? There are loads of beautiful native and non-invasive alternatives, and many of them attract beneficial pollinators to our gardens.
Did you resolve to spend more time outside? Awesome! Add Play, Clean, Go to that resolution. Because the seeds of invasive plants can hitch a ride on our shoes, clothing, bikes, pets, ATVs, and other outdoor gear and equipment, it’s important to inspect and clean everything before hitting the trail. Stay on the trail and leash your pets – it helps keep any potential invasive plant infestations to the beaten track.
Invasive plants tend to emerge and green up earlier in the season than our native plants. Resolve to watch for invasive plants (your identification preparation back in January pays off!) that may pop up in your yard, on the trail, or around town. And don’t forget to report any sightings.
Resolve to celebrate Alaska Invasive Species Awareness Week by getting involved with a community weed pull or another event!
Casting lines this summer? Don’t dump your bait on the ground! That’s right, non-native worms alter Alaska’s forests by changing the soil properties. Resolve to dispose of unused bait properly – in the trash.
Resolve to be a clean boater. Did you know that Elodea, a highly invasive aquatic plant, can sprout roots and shoots from tiny fingernail-sized fragments? Help stop the spread of Elodea and other aquatic invasive species by making a Clean, Drain, Dry routine part of your boating adventures.
Slug season! Some slugs are native to Alaska, but many aren’t. In some parts of Alaska, non-native slugs like European black slugs and leopard slugs have become serious pests. Resolve to learn how to identify non-native slugs, and report them to the AK Pest Reporter.
When it comes time to clean up the garden for the season, take note of invasive plants you didn’t get around to dealing with this year. Avoid pulling them now (it’ll just spread the seeds around), and resolve to do it in the spring.
Whether you purchase or collect it yourself, resolve to keep firewood local. Moving firewood can transport pests and diseases. How local is local? Some recommend 10 miles or less, but the closer the better.
Have a homegrown holiday. Pests and diseases can hitch a ride on trees, garlands, potted plants, and more. Before bringing home fresh plant material for your seasonal décor, inspect it for insects or signs of damage. Resolve to purchase trees and other greenery grown close to home, gather some from your yard, or harvest it locally where permitted.
One a month! That’s all it takes to help keep Alaska free from the harmful impacts of invasive species. If you feel inspired to do more, follow us on Facebook and/or scroll to the top of this page and add your name to our mailing list to stay up to date on invasive species news, research, and events all year long.