Regional conservation organizations partner to provide citizen science opportunities
This week, the Seneca Park Zoo Society is raising awareness of Invasive Species Week, celebrated annually by communities and organizations in New York during the second week in July to educate the public about invasive species and their effect on ecosystems throughout the region. With a full schedule of nature walks and talks, conservation activities, and citizen science training taking place both at the Zoo and off-grounds today through July 15, the Zoo Society is partnering with the Finger Lakes Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (FL-PRISM) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS) Northeast to engage the community with this important issue.
“Invasive species have an enormous impact on some of the most important natural resources in the state, such as rivers, lakes, and forests,” says Zoo Society Executive Director Pamela Reed Sanchez. “The Zoo is proud to partner with other conservation organizations to host hands-on activities that will not only educate people about the problem, but make them part of the solution.”
Hilary Mosher, the coordinator of the FL-PRISM Finger Lakes Institute at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, notes that in addition to the organization’s mission to reduce the introduction, spread, and impact of invasive species, “we are dedicated to involving the entire community in the process,” she says. “Our partnership with Seneca Park Zoo is another step in that direction.”
On Monday, July 11 and Wednesday, July 13, Zoo Society and PRISM staff will guide participants in removing water chestnut, an invasive aquatic plant that clogs waterways, from the Genesee River and surrounding areas.
On Tuesday, July 12 and Thursday, July 14, nature enthusiasts can join staff for a guided hike in lower Seneca Park, where they will learn about nature journaling, invasive species identification, and other conservation topics while enjoying the beauty of the park.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services will also be at the Zoo on Tuesday, July 12, educating guests about invasive fish and aquatic plants.
On Wednesday, July 13, PRISM staff will lead a training session at the Zoo for participants to learn how to use iMapInvasives, an online, GIS-based data management system used to assist citizen scientists and natural resource professionals working to protect natural resources from the threat of invasive species. The training will be followed be a field session.
“We are excited to connect the community with the resources to become citizen scientists,” says Zoo Society Director of Programming and Conservation Action Tom Snyder. “Partnering with organizations like PRISM and USFWS is an important effort for the Zoo’s conservation mission, which is at the heart of everything we do.”
Visit www.senecaparkzoo.org/invasives for the full schedule of Invasive Species Week activities and follow @SenecaParkZoo on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates from the field throughout the week.
Internationally, and in our own backyard, Seneca Park Zoo plays a key role in species survival. Chartered as an educational institution in 1957 by New York State, the Seneca Park Zoo Society plays an integral role in supporting Monroe County, the owners and operators of the Zoo. Together, we are working to bring animals back from the brink of extinction.