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Source: Weed Science Society of America news release

Westminister, CO - The Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) today announced that five free educational webinars will be offered during National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW) - a May 15-22 initiative to raise awareness about invasive species. WSSA is among the sponsors of awareness week activities and has played an active role in its planning.

"Weeds and other types of invasive organisms are found in a wide range of ecosystems - from lakes, streams and wetlands to croplands, rangelands, forests and cities," says Lee Van Wychen, Ph.D., executive director of science policy for the WSSA. "They represent a multibillion dollar drain on our nation's economy, as well as a threat to our environment and public health."

The five webinars offered during awareness week will focus on invasive species prevention and control:

The Climate Crisis and Invasive Species (Monday, May 17)
The Model Legislative Framework for State Aquatic Nuisance Species Programs (Tuesday, May 18)
The Regulatory Process for Classical Weed Biological Control (Wednesday, May 19)
Aquatic Plant Management Priorities (Thursday, May 20)
A Comparison of State Noxious Weed Lists and The Western Weed Action Plan (Friday, May 21)

Two WSSA members are among the presenters. Thursday's webinar will be led by Ryan Wersal, a WSSA member who is an assistant professor at Minnesota State University and president of the Aquatic Plant Management Society (APMS). Wersal will provide an overview of APMS and current aquatic plant management issues. He also will discuss the need for increased research funding.

Friday's webinar will be presented by Jacob Barney, a WSSA member and associate professor at Virginia Tech. His session will focus on variations in how states regulate noxious weeds, the challenges those variations pose and ways to bridge the gap.

"Weeds don't obey political borders," Barney says. "It can take a well-coordinated, multistate effort to manage the ecological threat posed by our most harmful weed species."

Registration and further details on the webinars are NISAW website highlights a variety of additional education and outreach opportunities. They include:

Webinar library. The May webinars represent the second round of educational opportunities NISAW has offered this year. In February, five sessions were presented on topics related to "information and advocacy." All were recorded and remain available online. In addition, NISAW's YouTube Channel features last year's webinars.

Outreach resources. A variety of tools and resources are available online for those interested in planning local events and educational opportunities related to invasive species management.

Invasive species forum. In conjunction with NISAW, the North American Invasive Species Forum will be held virtually May 18-20, 2021. The forum is an international event for professionals and organizations involved in invasive species management, research and regulation across North America. Click here to learn more and to register.

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