Pennsylvania Governor’s Council Urges Protection of Native Species on Annual Native Species Day

Department of Conservation and Natural ResourcesCredit: Commonwealth Media Services

FRANKLIN TWP, PA — To emphasize the importance of safeguarding native flora and fauna, the Pennsylvania Governor’s Invasive Species Council recently convened for the third annual Pennsylvania Native Species Day at Big Elk Creek State Park in Chester County. The event serves as a platform to raise awareness and advocate for the preservation of indigenous plants, insects, and animals amidst mounting threats posed by invasive species.

Led by the Department of Agriculture, this advisory council represents a collective collaboration among state agencies, local governments, and environmental organizations, working in unison to devise recommendations and spearhead strategies aimed at combatting the detrimental impacts of invasive species on Pennsylvania’s natural habitats.

Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Fred Strathmeyer emphasized the pivotal role individuals play in protecting the environment, stating, “By planting native species in our gardens and yards, we create vital food and shelter for native wildlife and pollinators critical to our food supply. This simple act strengthens biodiversity and creates a healthier ecosystem.” Strathmeyer urged ongoing efforts to support initiatives promoting native plants, advocating for sustained environmental well-being.

The preservation of native ecosystems yields manifold benefits, including clean water sources, diverse recreational opportunities, and a robust economy. Conversely, invasive species, lacking natural predators, pose a significant threat by disrupting these delicate ecosystems and jeopardizing the well-being of indigenous wildlife.

Jason Hall, a Regional Forester with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, highlighted the escalating risks posed by invasive species due to increased global trade and travel. He emphasized the department’s proactive measures through training, outreach, and collaborative efforts with other agencies to protect native plants and forests, ensuring the sustainability of Pennsylvania’s landscapes for future generations.

Tim Schaeffer, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, emphasized the importance of actively minimizing threats against native aquatic species. As boating activities surge during spring, Schaeffer encouraged boaters to adhere to new regulations requiring steps like removing plugs from boats and cleaning vegetation to prevent the spread of invasive species, thereby safeguarding native aquatic habitats.

Deputy Secretary Strathmeyer also announced the forthcoming establishment of the Pennsylvania Center for Plant Excellence, aiming to boost growth opportunities for various crop producers. Proposals for managing the center are invited, with detailed guidelines available in the Pennsylvania Bulletin for interested parties to submit proposals through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.

The initiatives showcased at the Pennsylvania Native Species Day reflect a concerted effort to instill a sense of environmental stewardship, foster biodiversity, and preserve the natural heritage of Pennsylvania for present and future generations. By raising awareness, fostering collaboration, and advocating for sustainable practices, stakeholders aim to ensure the longevity and vitality of the state’s diverse ecosystems.

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