On November 18th, the Invasive Species Centre, and the Early Detection & Rapid Response (EDRR) Network Ontario welcomed students and young professionals to a virtual Youth Summit on Invasive Species Projects and Collaborations. The Honourable Steve Clark, MPP for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, and Barbara Tobin, an Ontario Trillium Foundation volunteer, provided an opening address. The Invasive Species Centre recognized their Ontario Trillium Foundation’s Grow Grant of $258,500 over 24 months to cover staffing and program costs to protect ecosystems from invasive species in Eastern Ontario.

“This Youth Summit is an excellent opportunity to learn more about emerging invasive species issues, fields of research and potential career opportunities,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and MPP for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes. “The Centre showed ground-breaking work being done on invasive species research and resource management. I’d like to commend the Invasive Species Centre for the work they are doing to fight these environmental threats.

The Youth Summit featured exciting discussions about invasive species research, ongoing initiatives, resource management, and calls to action for volunteers. The event was geared towards students and young professionals in Eastern Ontario interested in learning more about emerging invasive species issues, fields of research, and career opportunities.

The Youth Summit also highlighted the importance of invasive species work and collaboration, giving special recognition to the generous contributions made by the Ontario Trillium Foundation to the EDRR Network Ontario.

The EDRR Network Ontario program is coordinated by the Invasive Species Centre (ISC) in collaboration with the Ontario Invasive Plant Council and the Eastern Ontario Model Forest/Ontario Woodlot Association. This program is designed to equip community members with the tools and resources necessary to properly detect, report, and respond to invasive species in Ontario.

The EDRR Network’s primary focus since April 2020 has been the Kingston, Rideau, and Quinte catchment of Eastern Ontario. The recent expansion of the EDRR Network into Eastern Ontario thanks to support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation has allowed the Network to reach over 3500 people, including 900 volunteers, since April 2020. “This funding has allowed us to work together with local partners, stewardship groups, and the public to move the yard-stick on invasive species monitoring, detection and management in Eastern Ontario,” says Derissa Vincentini, Community Action Leader at the Invasive Species Centre.

Invasive species are non-native living organisms that are introduced to Canada, and whose presence can cause ecological, economic, and/or social harm. These organisms outcompete native species and thrive in the absence of predators, allowing them to spread very quickly. 

The early detection of and coordinated rapid response to invasive species is extremely important when trying to contain, prevent, and eradicate their presence in native habitats.

The ISC and our partners thank the Ontario Trillium Foundation for their ongoing support for programs that support ecosystem management and resiliency.

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