KEENE VALLEY — Invasive species will be the focal point of a series of regionwide activities over the next several days.
The eighth-annual Adirondack Invasive Species Awareness Week kicks off Sunday with an array of interactive events, including an invasive-plant paddle on Upper Saranac Lake, a floating classroom on Lake George and interpretive displays at the Paul Smith’s Visitors Information Center.
“There are so many groups working on invasive-species awareness across the Adirondacks that we thought, why not focus on one week to emphasize that awareness?” said Hilary Smith, director of the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program.
“This is a busy time (of year) as people travel across the Adirondacks,” she added. “Tourists and residents are out on the trails and waterways. The second week of July is a great time to raise awareness and remind people of the spread of invasives while they’re traveling.”
The week-long program concentrates activities along popular routes, such as the stretch of rural roadways between Old Forge and Saranac Lake, so people enjoying vacations can also learn about the impacts that invasive species have on communities.
“I think, in general, the public’s consciousness has been raised about invasive-species issues through a wide suite of outreach and educational activities,” Smith said.
“It’s important that we continue to raise awareness with the public, local decision makers, program funding sources and our agency partners.”
For instance, education about the emerald ash borer may not prevent the spread of the nuisance insect across the region, Smith said, but awareness has been instrumental in creating new legislation that prohibits moving firewood from region to region, which curtails the spread of other invasives.
“We’re trying to protect the region from future infestations,” she said. “I’m optimistic, but we can’t stop now. We have to continue emphasizing awareness.”