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Invasive Species Week Shines Light on Troublesome Species

Above: Callery pear has escaped commercial development to invade a natural area. Photo: John Woodmansee

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb recently issued a Proclamation declaring February 27- March 5, 2022 as “Invasive Species Awareness Week”. This coincides with National Invasive Species Awareness Week Feb. 28-March 4, 2022.

Awareness and prevention efforts are important because invasive species impact just about everyone. When not monitored or controlled, invasive species can cause harm to our economy, environment or human health. The term "invasive" is used for aggressive species that grow and reproduce rapidly, displace native species, and cause major disturbance to the areas in which they are present.

Invasive species can impact native plants, insects, birds, fish, water bodies and wildlife. Control efforts are expensive and time-consuming. Invasive species, if left uncontrolled, can and will limit land and water use now and into the future.

An invasive species can be a non-native insect, plant (terrestrial or aquatic), pathogen, disease, aquatic organism, or animal that causes harm.

The longer we ignore the problem the harder and more expensive the battle for control will become.

Note, however, that not all non-native organisms cause harm.

The National Park Service states on their website, “For a plant or animal to be invasive, it must do harm. Simply being non-native is not cause for concern.” They go on to state that non-native species are organisms that do not occur naturally in an area, but are introduced as the result of deliberate or accidental human activities.

Some may even have unknowingly used non-native species in their own landscape or garden. “Non-native species such as petunias and tomatoes, present no threat to native plants and have been cultivated by humans for centuries,” they said. Another common non-native plant in many Indiana home landscapes is the Colorado blue spruce.

Local residents can report invasive species by calling the Invasive Species hotline at 1-866-NO-EXOTIC (1-866-663-9684) or using the free Great Lakes Early Detection Network smartphone app, which can be downloaded on iTunes or GooglePlay. Purdue has put together a YouTube video to demonstrate how easily the app can be used to alert authorities: You can also email

For more information, see websites below:

Additionally, learn more about national efforts during invasive species awareness week at:

If you are one who enjoys or manages natural areas, I encourage you to become more aware and knowledgeable of invasive species, and to identify steps you can take to minimize their impact.

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