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Help by volunteering

Our native biodiversity is an irreplaceable and valuable treasure. There are many ways that you can help protect our native heritage from damage by invasive species. First, fill out that membership form to The Nature Conservancy (really, it's about time!). If you would like to get some exercise in a beautiful natural habitat, inquire about volunteer schedules at a nearby preserve. There are preserves and offices in every state, and one may be closer than you expect. Bring friends and kids. These events are great fun. You may get the chance to see parts of the preserve not normally open to the public.

Learn about the issues

Killing organisms such as plants on a nature preserve may surprise those who do not understand that non-native invasive species can decrease the native biodiversity. While preventing invasions from ever happening is the best solution, once a preserve is being degraded by an invasive species, control is necessary. If nothing is done to counter the invasion, then the native animals and plants will suffer displacement, starvation and even death.

Do not transmit invasive species

If you are a boater, clean your boat and equipment thoroughly when transporting it from one site to another. Not only will your clean gear be the envy of your peers, you will help prevent the spread of invasive species (such as mussels, aquatic weeds, etc.). Many of these invasive species are very harmful to your recreation enjoyment, as well as to the environment!

If you are a hiker, clean the weed seeds out of your socks and shoes between trips. We recommend you throw the seeds in your fireplace if you have one. Extra points are awarded to those who wash off their boots---this can help reduce the spread of harmful fungi.

Cleaning your car, bike, motorcycle, horses, or other transportation is also a good way to avoid transporting invasive species seeds. Many invaders get a foothold by invading along transportation routes such as roads or trails.

Of course, never intentionally encourage the spread of non-native species. Obey agricultural import laws (such as customs declaration forms when travelling); fruit and vegetables could be carrying tiny but harmful arthropods or fungi, or could become invaders themselves! Do not release organisms into the wild. Even if your pet fish were native to an area, you should not release it back into the wild if the fish came into contact with other fish---it could be carrying new diseases that could harm wild fish.

Cape Ivy escaping!
Help by wise gardening

If you garden, pay close attention to the plants you are growing. Do some of them show the potential for being problem weeds? Avoid plants which self-seed and make seedlings which come up in expected places outside your garden. Plants which produce many seeds and just keep coming back even when you try to remove them are also potentially invasive. Do not use weedy volunteers that appear in parks or abandoned lots. If you happen to live adjacent to a wildlife area or on a watercourse, pay particular attention to what you plant. Your plants may be creating new populations you do not know about! Most non-native species are fine for your garden; the invasive ones are the species to avoid. You may want to try a native species garden. Many states have native plant societies that have plant sales or lists of plants to try (or avoid). With a native plant garden, you will have a colorful, low maintenance display that will attract birds and other wildlife!

Spread the word, not the weed

Many people still do not know the damage that can be caused by invasive species. Educate your friends and family about the differences between invasive and non-invasive plants. If you see your nursery selling invasive species, tell them about this problem. Most nursery growers are interested in avoiding problem species and will listen to your concerns. You can help prevent damage from animals, too. Make sure your dog or cat does not run freely through preserves set aside for natural biodiversity. Ensure that breeding animals do not contribute to the already large population of feral animals that inhabit our wildlands and prey upon native species. Obviously, an invading organism cannot be blamed for its invasion---the anthropogenic cause for its presence is where the blame lies.

Q &A clinic
The most frequently asked questions answered for your edification.
The worst weeds
Learn about an invasive plant species in your neighborhood that threatens native biodiversity.
Ppt presentations
Here we have PowerPoint presentations on invasive species. Web slideshow versions are also on line if you do not want to download the PowerPoint files.
Economic impacts
It is difficult to put an accurate price tag on the costs of invasive species. Here are a few results from studies that have tried to do so.
Learn even more
People who talk about invasive species often present facts without citing their sources. Are you curious about our sources? Here they are for you!

Other site resources

Red Alerts!
Species which are either new to an area, or are showing alarming symptoms such as signs of signicant, new expansion.
Conservation stories
Read about how different people have had great successes dealing with invasive species.
Tool reviews
Read our reviews of hardware that are useful for those working in invasive species management.
About us
Information about the core staff of The Nature Conservancy's Global Invasive Species Team.
Contact information
How you can contact the core staff of The Nature Conservancy's Global Invasive Species Team.

Updated June 2007
©The Nature Conservancy, 2005