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University of Minnesota Extension

PlayCleanGo Awareness Week

You might be a pro at outdoor recreation, but are you using PlayCleanGo tips to stop the spread of invasive species? As flowers and other vegetation are growing rapidly because of the heat, it’s a good time to remember the many ways you can help prevent the introduction of invasive species as you play, work and travel.

Some people are skeptical that individuals can make a difference when it comes to preventing invasive species, but we know you can! It’s quick and easy to clean your shoes and gear before leaving an area. Don’t forget to clean your pets too—horse hooves and muddy dogs can accidentally spread invasives. 

At my house we’ve been escaping the heat at the local beaches, fishing and paddleboarding more. Be sure to clean, drain and dry your watercraft and angling equipment before transporting it to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. 

Camping season is in full swing and with that it’s time for campfires and s’mores! Buy your firewood where you burn it to stop the spread of many forest invasive insects and diseases. If you don’t burn the whole pile pass-it-forward by leaving it for the next camper. “Clean” wood can become infested at the campsite. 

Before traveling be sure to inspect your car, camper, recreational vehicle and other gear and clean it of mud, plant parts and possible pests. Invasive species aren’t the souvenirs you want to bring home!

Fun fact: The PlayCleanGo campaign started at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and has now gone national and international. Great job, Minnesota! Learn more about the campaign at the PlayCleanGo website.

Angela Gupta, Extension invasive species educator

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