Each year the North American Invasive Species Management Association holds their National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW) to sponsor volunteer events and raise awareness regarding invasive species. This year NISAW runs from February 28th until March 4th with volunteer events, workshops, and webinars happening every day. 

So what is an invasive species?

Invasive species are non-native plants and animals which can be found on land or in water. Once they become established in areas outside their normal habitat range, they are capable of causing severe damage, including harming the economy, the environment, or human health. According to Invasivespecies.org, it is estimated that each year invasive species cost the United States $120 billion in damages and treatments!

Invasive plants, in particular, cause a huge problem for Virginia’s forests and open land, particularly where soils have been disturbed. Plants such as Chinese Privet and Autumn Olive can overwhelm forest edges which are critical for many songbirds. Vines including English Ivy, Oriental Bittersweet, and Japanese Honeysuckle consume trees and can eventually kill them, which is especially troublesome in urban areas.

Want to learn more and get your hands dirty? 

Each month the James River Association leads an Invasive Plant Removal at Chapel Island as part of the larger James River Park System Invasive Plant Task Force. Blue Ridge PRISM (Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management) is holding several workshops for NISAW to help educate people about invasive plants, information for that can be found here.

A list of local NISAW events can be found at the James River Park System Invasive Plant Task Force website, we hope to see you at one!