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Each year, WNY PRISM works with partners to develop species priorities lists that help guide management efforts. In addition to identifying early detection and approaching region species, our survey priorities include a list of data gap species. These species are those for which more information is needed regarding presence and distribution within our region. We have identified five data gap species for 2022: hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae), tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima), leafy spurge (Euphrobia esula), Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) and callery pear (Pyrus calleryana).

In addition to gathering information on presence within our region, WNY PRISM wants to expand our photo library for these five species. We are asking for community scientists to submit their high-quality photos of our data gap species. Your pictures may be featured on our social media, and could even be used in our Data Gap Species Identification videos!

Contest Rules

  1. Anyone is eligible to submit photographs, and contestants can enter multiple photographs.
  2. By entering the contest, entrants are agreeing to allow WNY PRISM to use photographs in outreach and promotional materials and on WNY PRISM’s social media.
  3. Photographs will be accepted from May 1, 2022 to August 31, 2022.
  4. The top photograph submitted each month will be posted on WNY PRISM’s social media page on the last day of the month.
  5. Top photographs of each species will be featured in Data Gap Species Identification videos, which will be on WNY PRISM’s YouTube channel. Videos will be produced in September.
  6. Photographs should be in its original state and should not be altered in any way.
  7. Species should be identifiable by the submitted photograph, meaning that photographs should show distinctive characteristics of the species. Distinctive characteristics include leaves, bark, flowers and/or berries.
  8. WNY PRISM encourages photo submissions of species in different phenological stages.

How to Submit Photographs

Please email your photograph as an attachment to pershycm@buffalostate.edu with the subject line “Data Gap Photo Contest.” Please include in the body of the email: “I give permission for WNY PRISM to use this photograph in outreach and promotional materials.” File name of the photograph should be the scientific name of the species, your name, and the month you submit. If submitting more than one photograph at once, please include a two-digit number. For example:

“Ailanthus altissima_John Smith_May_01.jpg”

“Ailanthus altissima_John Smith_May_02.jpg”

Contestants may submit multiple photographs over the course of the contest.

Examples of Identification Photos:

This photograph of leafy spurge shows the characteristic greenish-yellow flowers, arranged in small clusters.








This photograph shows hemlock needles with their distinctive white stripes on the undersides, along with the woolly ovisacs of hemlock woolly adelgid lining the branches.




To learn more about best times to photograph species and identifiable features, refer to the feature article of our Spring Newsletter.

Please reach out to pershycm@buffalostate.edu with any questions.