EXTENSION CORNER: PlayCleanGo Awareness Week kicks off June 4-11

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Yates County

National campaign shares simple steps outdoor recreationists can take to stop the spread of invasive species

PCG Awareness Week

PENN YAN – CCE-Yates County and PlayCleanGo are excited to kick off the third annual PlayCleanGo Awareness Week, June 4-11, 2022. A week dedicated to highlighting the importance of stopping the spread of invasive species, PlayCleanGo Awareness Week educates recreationists on quick and easy ways to responsibly enjoy the outdoors without spreading invasive species or pests.

Throughout the week, CCE-Yates County will join with PlayCleanGo to 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.

“As people head outdoors, we want them to know that a little bit of prevention contributes to a larger effort of preserving our land's biodiversity and important habitats,” said Lexie Davis (CCE-Yates County Natural Resources/Invasive Species Educator). “We look forward to sharing easy steps everyone can take to prevent the spread of invasive species. 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.”

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.

Six easy steps you can take to stop the spread of invasive species:

  1. Clean your shoes, clothes, packs, and pets before and after exploring and stay on designated trails (Boot brush states are located at the Yates County Community Center, the Keuka Outlet Trail, and Our Town Rocks!).
  2. Clean your horse's hooves and feed them weed-free certified hay before your adventure.
  3. Clean, drain, and dry your watercraft and angling equipment to Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers!
  4. Don't move firewood! Buy it where you burn it, buy certified heat-treated firewood, or gather on site when permitted.
  5. 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.
  6. Take the PlayCleanGo Pledge and invite your family and friends to do the same at www.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 on what you can do to help stop the spread of invasive pests and to take the pledge, visit PlayCleanGo.org. Follow PlayCleanGo on Facebook, Twitter, 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.

New York’s Invasive Species Awareness Week June 6 – 12

CCE-Yates County will also celebrate New York’s Invasive Species Awareness Week (#NYISAW), June 6-12. The mission of the New York Invasive Species Awareness Week (NYISAW) is to promote knowledge and understanding of invasive species and the harm they can cause. We want to empower YOU to stop the spread of invasive species.

Organizations across all of New York State are offering a variety of engaging events, such as interpretive hikes, volunteer days, webinars, movie screenings, and fun family activities. By participating in NYISAW, you can help protect your community’s natural spaces, learn about the emerging invasive species, meet your neighbors, get outdoors, and even win prizes. For a list of this year’s topics and events, visit http://fingerlakesinvasives.org/new-york-invasive-species-awareness-week-june-6th-june12th/.

For questions or additional information, contact the CCE Yates Natural Resources Educator, Lexie Davis, at abd97@cornell.edu or 315-536-5123.

Cornell Cooperative Extension  connects communities with Cornell research and expertise to enrich and empower New York State neighbors, local businesses, towns, and cities.  In neighborhoods, homes, workplaces, and schools, CCE educators work to empower individuals and families with raising children, saving energy and money, growing, and preparing food, starting, sustaining businesses, and protecting the environment. Each CCE office relies on county, state, and federal funds to solve local problems and strengthen communities.  For more information, please contact the CCE-Yates County Association at 315-536-5123.

“Cornell Cooperative Extension is an employer and educator recognized for valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities and provides equal program and employment opportunities”