Invasive species represent a significant threat to native plants, animals, and humans. They cause enormous disruptions in the natural ecological balance, inducing erosion, crowding out food sources, and reducing biodiversity. Invasive species are also a significant drain on the national economy.
If you’re in the Washington, D.C. area today through March 4, you can register for a week full of free activities, briefings, and events to highlight what is being done around the world to stop and slow the spread of invasive species. You can also follow the action on Facebook.
Not in the DC area? Thanks to citizen science, there are still plenty of ways to play an active role in National Invasive Species Awareness Week. Here are some easy and fun citizen science projects that you can do:
What’s Invasive: use a mobile phone to locate invasive plants in locations across the US or create your own list of plants that you want help in locating.
University of Florida Cuban Treefrog Citizen Science Project: capture and remove invasive treefrogs around your homes, collect and submit data on these frogs, and monitor for native treefrogs.
Global Garlic Mustard Field Survey: help scientists gather data on the abundance and distribution of an invasive plant called “garlic mustard” (scientific name: Alliaria petiolata).
Vital Signs: investigate invasive species in Maine.
The Bay Area’s Most Wanted Spider: Arachnologists at the California Academy of Sciences need your help documenting the presence and distribution of Zoropsis spinimana spiders.
Bay Area Ant Survey: collect ants in the Bay Area and send your ant-filled vial and corresponding data sheet back to the Naturalist Center at the California Academy of Sciences.
Noah: Networked Organisms and Habitats: document local wildlife on your mobile phone and add your observations to a growing database for use by ongoing citizen-science projects.
Contra Costa Volunteer Creek Monitoring: use the latest technology and scientific protocols to collect baseline data on local watersheds in Contra Costa County, California.
High Country Citizen Science Project: participate in back-country surveys to collect data on the number and distribution of mountain goats, pikas, and Clark’s nutcrackers, three species of concern in the high country of Montana’s Glacier National Park.