During the 2016 summer season the WNY PRSIM Crew traveled to several Farmer’s Markets throughout our 8 county region to educate the public and talk about our mission to help prevent and minimize the impact of invasive species. Batavia, Salamanca, Dunkirk, Franklinville, Lockport and Clarence Farmers’ Markets generously hosted us as one of their informational tables, to encourage their communities to understand what exactly invasive species are and in what ways they negatively impact our ecosystems, human health and the economy.
Although each market we attended varied in size and types of visitors, there was a clear interest in the threat of invasive species and many people had stories of their own experience with an invasive plant or animal. Whether they had lost an ash tree in their backyard to the emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis), or have identified multi-flora rose (Rosa multiflora) in their favorite local park or nature preserve, many who visited the WNY PRISM educational table had an invasive species tale to tell. They also valued the need for organizations like WNY PRISM and our Partners who work to help prevent the spread of invasive species and restore the natural beauty of our region.
The Clarence Hollow Farmers’ Market was one of our closing events of the 2016 season and the largest attended market we did outreach for this summer. Founded in 2002, this market is New York State’s only “Rails to Trails” Farmers’ Market and it is run entirely by the efforts of volunteer community members. The WNY PRISM Crew attended the market on Saturday, August 27, for their annual Eastern Monarch Butterfly release of over 250 butterflies! Approximately 600 people came out to see the spectacle of the hundreds of fluttering wings take to the sky, embarking on their 2,000 mile migration down to Mexico for the winter.
The Eastern Monarch Butterfly Farm partners with the Clarence Hollow Farmers’ Market every year for this event, brining awareness to the Eastern Monarch, as well as other species experiencing population declines due to our ever changing environment and loss of habitat. Invasive species are a major cause of habitat loss and degradation for wildlife and WNY PRISM was excited to be a part of this event to educate others on the work we do to improve, restore and protect our local aquatic and terrestrial resources which we all depend on.
We would like to thank each of the Farmers’ Markets who hosted our staff this year, giving WNY PRISM the opportunity to educate others on the priority invasive species affecting our area and sharing their own experiences with us.
This article was written by Emily Dyett, 2016 WNY PRISM Invasive Species Management Assistant.