Welcome to the Invasive Species Centre!  
We are thinking of you in these unusual times, and glad to share some good news on new events and progress. We are open for business at the Invasive Species Centre, the team is working from home now, and we have adapted our resources to better serve you. 

To help keep us connected, we are pleased to sponsor a free monthly Invasive Species Centre webinar series in 2020, featuring the latest work from our team and our many partners. Our work on forest and plant pests, citizen science, risk assessments, outreach, improving invasive species management, and economic analyses continues, and we are building new resources to add to our website and social media.

We welcome your ideas, appreciate your partnerships and are always grateful for collaboration on new projects. Please   contact us  to discuss a potential project or with your questions on invasive species.

Best wishes,

Sarah Rang
What is the International Year of Plant Health?
The International Year of Plant Health, a joint initiative of the United Nations, aims to raise global awareness about how protecting plant health can help end hunger, reduce poverty, strengthen the environment and the economy.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is leading IYPH initiatives throughout Canada, and we are happy to support! In April, we are partnering with CFIA to promote the theme Invasive Plant Pests and Invasive Species . This Spring Edition of The Spread is a special #IYPH2020 edition. Check out the resources and articles below to learn about invasive species that impact plant health and ways that we can all help prevent the spread!
Beastie the Bug invades the Invasive Species Centre!
The European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO) created the concept of Beastie, a plush world-travelling bug to raise awareness of the IYPH. Capturing photos of Beastie in each destination has created a fun interactive conversation about invasive species. So far, Beastie has had stops throughout Europe and North America with recent visits to Australia, Israel... and the Invasive Species Centre! Follow Beastie's journey here .
Announcing a new factsheet series
We have a new family of factsheets to share! Through this factsheet series, you can learn about:

  • invasive species impacts on municipal assets and infrastructure;
  • protecting critical habitat and species at risk from invasive species;
  • how climate change can accelerate the impacts and spread of invasive species; and
  • the value of prevention and return on investment when you act early to prevent and respond to invasive species.

Click below to view the factsheets and share them with others.
Detect hemlock woolly adelgid on your property
Hemlock woolly adelgid, or HWA, is an invasive aphid-like insect that attacks and kills hemlock trees. The egg masses of HWA look like wool at the base of hemlock needles. HWA kills hemlock trees rapidly when they amass in large numbers, sucking fluids from the tree. When a hemlock dies, this negatively impacts surrounding organisms because hemlock trees are keystone species in the forest ecosystems they support, including the ecosystems in woodlots and backyards.

Check out our new "How To" videos to learn about two methods that can be used for early detection of HWA in hemlock stands. Early detection makes management more effective and cost-efficient and allows for more alternatives. T hanks goes out to our partners at Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service!

The first method, ball sampling, involves shooting a velcro-covered ball into the canopy of a hemlock tree, where any HWA wool (ovisacs) present will stick to the velcro.
The second method is called sticky trap sampling. Once hatched, HWA crawlers venture from the branch tips towards the hemlock bark with the goal of settling to feed. On their way, they often fall from the canopy, which is where the sticky trap comes into play.
New Invasive Species Centre webinar series
Community and resources are more important than ever right now. The Invasive Species Centre will continue to bring you new opportunities for learning and professional development through the use of digital tools.
 
This year, we'll be hosting a  new webinar series  that will feature invasive species experts and a new topic each month. Check out the information below for our first webinar taking place in April and stay tuned for more information on upcoming webinars in 2020!
Tuesday April 21, 2020 at 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM EST
Visit BEAN: Ontario's Biodiversity Education and Awareness Network
Submitted by BEAN, written by: Allison Hands, Forests Ontario Education Manager

BEAN is a collaboration of concerned members from the public and private sectors, working together. This January, BEAN teamed up with the Invasive Species Centre to create a new lesson plan about the spread and impact of invasive zebra mussels in Ontario’s lakes and rivers. This free lesson plan is available for download on BEAN’s website and contains four activities for Grade 12 Biology students. The lesson plan asks students to examine and analyze a real data set of zebra mussel densities collected from the Rideau River Canal System. Students then expand on these ideas by calculating the hypothetical population sizes of zebra mussels in Lake Erie, determining how long it would take them to filter all of the water in Lake Ontario, and estimating the hypothetical population they could reach in just five years. Students finish by researching possible zebra mussel control methods and vote on which methods are most and least effective.
Taking inspiration from our natural spaces in a challenging time - a blog
By: Colin Cassin, ISC Policy & Program Development Analyst

We all see how challenging it can be to be separated from the people and things that support our mental and physical wellbeing. Our parents, children, siblings, neighbours, hobbies and “happy places” that provide us balance are no longer accessible in the same way as they were mere weeks ago. We have all been required to adapt to recreate this balance, or some facsimile of it anyways, using new tools and techniques to connect with the world around us.  

Let me tell you about my happy place, with the hope that it will help you connect with yours. The setting is a 12 acre woodlot filled with native deciduous trees. The most common trees are sugar maple and are mixed in age. With some amateur forest detective work we estimate our oldest maples to be at least 60 years in age, with the next waves of trees and saplings ensuring our woodlot will remain for our next generation of woodlot managers.
How to remove garlic mustard
By: Lauren Bell, ISC Community Education & Outreach Coordinator

Garlic mustard is considered one of the most damaging invasive forest plant species due largely to its ability to spread quickly throughout many different habitats. This invasive herb is native to Europe, and was once sought after as an edible plant, due to its richness in vitamins A and C.

This invasive plant is no stranger to gardens, and while it used to be planted as an edible herb, gardeners are quickly realizing the potential negative implications.
Using narrative to communicate about invasive species: a collaborative approach with the University of Toronto Scarborough
By: Leah Hodgson, ISC Communications Coordinator

When communicating about invasive species, narrative plays a pivotal role in connecting with people at the community level. By focusing on successes and identifying shared goals, the layers of invasive species prevention and management can become an inspiration and motivation for improved future actions. Choosing prevention behaviours at decision points and reporting suspected invasive species sightings are examples of these actions.

The Invasive Species Centre is always looking for new and creative ways to talk about invasive species. This year, we were fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Dr. Nick Mandrak’s University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) Master of Environmental Science students to collaborate on the production of ArcGIS StoryMaps . This software promotes the creative use of mapping and innovative web design to create accessible narratives.

For this project, the Invasive Species Centre provided ideas and feedback for two separate groups of students who tackled science stories on two different invasive forest pests: Asian longhorned beetle and emerald ash borer.
First publication: an entomologist's milestone
In February, our entomology technician at the ISC, David Dutkiewicz, had his master's research published in the academic journal Biological Invasions . The study was completed in collaboration with the Canadian Forest Service (Natural Resources Canada), the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and the University of Guelph.

Kreutzweiser, D., Dutkiewicz, D., Capell, S., Sibley, P., & Scarr, T . Changes in streamside riparian forest canopy and leaf litter nutrient flux to soils during an emerald ash borer infestation in an agricultural landscape. Biological Invasions .

By: David Dutkiewicz, ISC Entomology Technician

This research was important to me as I have been working in the Sarnia/London areas with the Great Lakes Forestry Centre since 2009 as an undergraduate student focusing on detection and monitoring of emerald ash borer (EAB). This Master’s research project allowed me to focus on my interests in forestry and the impacts EAB has on forest management. Hopefully this paper will provide more understanding of the effects that invasive species have on the landscape level and will help address management tactics for dealing with similar invasive pests in the future. In the meantime, our ash trees need our help! By doing simple things like buying and burning local firewood or reporting potential EAB sightings, we can all play our part in preserving healthy forests for the next generation.
Plant persistence: reflecting on the International Year of Plant Health - a blog
By: Liam Brechin, ISC Business Development & Communications Intern

Of all plants, trees fascinate me the most. I think of the California  redwood , standing at enormous heights, resilient and impenetrable. I think of Madagascar’s  baobab , evolving in isolation and its branches resembling roots. I think about the pines, oaks and hemlocks I often see while hiking in my home province of Ontario. I don’t often think about what our world would look like without them.

The year 2020 was declared the  International Year of Plant Health  by the International Plant Protection Convention of the United Nations. Perhaps now, when the health of our forests and other ecosystems are being tested around the world, it is the right time to reflect on the human-plant relationship by acknowledging and appreciating their value to all beings on Earth.

The International Year of Plant Health is of particular interest to the Invasive Species Centre, because invasive species are a leading threat to plant health. As humans rely on plants for so much, we often feel the impact of these threats.
Zooplankton through the looking glass: a new lab at the ISC
Earlier this quarter we launched a new lab space at the ISC to monitor for invasive zooplankton in freshwater samples collected by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. The work focuses on two types of zooplankton; spiny water flea and the planktonic larvae of zebra mussels. Equipped with stereo microscope and other tools, our aquatic biology specialists will be monitoring for the presence or absence of both species from selected Ontario waters to help improve detection and response.
RECENT EVENTS
Oak wilt management forum

In collaboration with the City of Oakville, the Invasive Species Centre held an Oak Wilt Workshop for land managers across Ontario. The workshop headlined top speakers from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Michigan State University and the City of Windsor. The topics covered were oak wilt biology, range, identification, and management techniques. Oak wilt has not been identified in Canada, but has been detected on Belle Isle, less than about 500m from the Ontario border. Representatives from Michigan State University highlighted lessons learned from handling this invasive pathogen while the City of Windsor informed participants of preventative measures they are taking.
Insect identification workshop

In late February, the Invasive Species Centre hosted an insect identification workshop in partnership with Manitoba Agriculture and Resources Development, and the Nature Conservancy of Canada. This workshop took place at the University of Manitoba where the Wallis/Roughley Museum of Entomology is located. The first two days of the workshop were facilitated by ISC Entomology Technician David Dutkiewisz and Jordan Bannerman from the University of Manitoba. Topics included insect anatomy and beetle identification. The third day was dedicated to moth and butterfly identification, facilitated by Dr. Richard Westwood from University of Winnipeg. This workshop brought together organizations from across Manitoba to learn about proper identification features for pests that affect forest health.
Invasive Species Awareness Week 2020

This February, the Invasive Species Centre was thrilled to co-organize the 2020 Invasive Species Awareness Week social media campaign. We participated alongside three partner organizations and over 50 official participant organizations across Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, uniting to raise awareness about invasive species and the steps we can take to prevent their spread. The campaign featured five different themes for each day of the week, including the pathways of invasive species spread, impacts of invasive species on biodiversity, and resources for continued learning about invasive species. We were able to reach 300,000+ across various platforms with ISC content alone and even achieved a milestone by trending on Twitter in Canada with the hashtag #InvSpWk!
Asian Carp public information session

The ISC hosted an Asian Carp Information Session in Windsor, Ontario focusing on surveillance and early detection of grass carp, one of the four Asian carp species. Fisheries and Oceans Canada began with a formal presentation and a panel of experts made up of representatives from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority facilitated a discussion. The event also had informative booths made up of panelist organizations where the 90+ attendees could speak to the experts one-on-one. The night had great questions and conversations about the threats Asian carps pose to the Great Lakes and the importance of preventing their establishment.
 
The Asian Carp Canada webinar series, featuring the latest four webinars on grass carp research, tench, education, and risk assessment can be found here .
Niagara invasive species public information session

The Invasive Species Centre hosted an Invasive Pest Information Session in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario that featured presentations on key invasive species of concern and provided an opportunity for networking among environmental organizations and the public. Presentations focused on three invasive pests; spotted lanternfly , hemlock woolly adelgid and oak wilt . A networking hour and invasive species exhibits followed the main event. More than 60 participants with interests in forestry, agriculture, conservation and invasive species management attended the session.
What else have we been up to?

Ontario Horticultural Short Course - Presenter: Mackenzie DiGasparro, ISC Program Development Coordinator

Forests Ontario Conference and AGM - Booth: Sarah Rang, ISC Executive Director

Ontario Fruit & Vegetable Conference - Booth: Mandy Ehnes, ISC Program Development Coordinator and Kristin Palilionis, ISC Policy & Program Development Intern

International Arboriculture Society Ontario Chapter Banquet - Honorary Associate Award: David Nisbet, ISC Partnership & Science Manager, for work with the ISAO on technical training and certification for arborists on oak wilt in Ontario

Nature Works - Presenter: Sarah Rang, ISC Executive Director - Booth: Lauren Bell, ISC Community Education & Outreach Coordinator and Mackenzie DiGasparro, ISC Program Development Coordinator

Laurentian University Research Week - Presenters: Mackenzie DiGasparro, ISC Program Development Coordinator and Leah Hodgson, ISC Communications Coordinator 
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