It has been a rewarding and busy summer for our education and outreach efforts at WNY PRISM. We have successfully launched our new website www.wnyprism.org which has information about invasive species profiles, news and reports, publications, funding opportunities, and programs and services. Our first newsletter was created this spring, with a second edition coming soon this fall. This has updates on invasive species projects in Western New York, region and statewide updates, Partner articles, and a list of upcoming events in our area. We are now in the process of designing fact sheets on terrestrial and aquatic priorities, and early detection species for our region.
WNY Prism attended many farmer’s markets this season including the North Tonawanda Farmer’s Market, Clinton Bailey Farmer’s Market, Downtown Country Farmer’s Market, and Clarence Hollow Farmer’s Market. We welcomed hundreds of visitors to our education and outreach displays through these events. Another successful outreach event was the three day music festival at the Great Blue Heron over the fourth of July holiday weekend. Thousands of guests enjoyed the educational displays, food, and of course the music.
WNY PRISM distributed information at County Fairs, working with our many Partners. Canal Fest of the Tonawandas is one of our most successful outreach events where WNY PRISM partnered with the NYSDEC and USACE to inform citizens about the Tonawanda Creel/Erie Canal Hydrilla Demonstration Project, along with additional invasive species information.
The Great Lakes Experience Festival is an education event focusing on the environment and ecology of the Great Lakes hosted by U.S. Fish and Wildlife. Hundreds of people visited the WNY PRISM education and outreach display and even the Emerald Ash Bored mascot made an appearance!
WNY PRISM also hosted several events for the 2nd Annual NYS Invasive Species Awareness Week. This included Community First Detector Invasive Pest Detection Workshop presented by the National Plant Diagnostic Network. Professionals from multiple agencies received training and kits to identify and submit samples for invasive forest species. Also, we hosted our first annual Native Planting and Habitat Restoration Tour at five restoration sites in the Buffalo area. Attendees received a book of native plants from Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, information on invasive species and WNY PRISM, and a mix of professionally guided or self-guided tours of the sites.
WNY PRISM also participated in the Great Lakes Awareness Day at the Aquarium of Niagara. Hundreds of guests with their families toured the aquarium, watched the sea lion shows, and received educational items on Great Lakes ecology including invasive species. We closed out the summer with WNY PRISM attending the 100th Anniversary Celebration of the Genesee County Forest and Reinstein Woods Fall Festival.
Article was written by Patricia Shulenburg, 2015 WNY PRISM Education and Outreach Assistant.