Minnesota's First-ever Habitattitude Meeting Happening on Friday
The University of Minnesota Sea Grant Program will host the first-ever statewide meeting of HabitattitudeTM supporters on Friday, January 11, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Held in conjunction with the 2013 Northern Green Expo, this inaugural coming together of sellers of aquarium and water garden plants and animals, agency staff and educators will restart the conversation about ways to stop the spread of harmful non-native species through aquarium releases and water garden escapes.
Habitattitude is a national campaign to eliminate the release and escape of pets and plants - from goldfish to hydrilla - into lakes and rivers. A $400,000 grant awarded to the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network, led by Minnesota, through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has rejuvenated the Habitattitude campaign. Following a string of other Great Lakes statewide conferences, the Minnesota Habitattitude meeting extends aquatic invasive species education across state and country borders.
This is measured, in part, by a statistic cited by Doug Jensen, Aquatic Invasive Species Program Coordinator at Minnesota Sea Grant. Jensen said that surveys indicate 84 percent of aquarists and water gardeners would seek alternatives to releasing pets and plants into the environment after they learned about the relationships among aquatic invasive species, conservation and their hobby.
"We're excited to co-host the first statewide Habitattitude meeting along with MNLA [Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association]," said Marte Kitson, Minnesota Sea Grant's Aquatic Invasive Species Education Specialist and National Park Service Liaison. "Educating aquarists and water gardeners about preventing the release and escape of pets and plants is critical to helping protect our lakes and rivers from potentially invasive species. What most people don't realize is some of these species can be just as damaging to aquatic environs as pests like Asian carp and zebra mussels."
Habitattitude organizers expect this to be the first meeting in Minnesota. "It's a conversation starter about what approaches and tools are needed for success and the abundant possibilities in the future," said Jensen.
To learn more about the Habitattitude campaign, visit www.habitattitude.net.
Posted on January 8, 2013