Invasive Species Language Workshop inspires, gets people talking


Communicating effectively about invasive species, whether the plants and animals are on land or in water, can be challenging. Is it better to “wage a war” on invasives, or should communicators take an alternative approach?

In conjunction with National Invasive Species Awareness Week, the Sea Grant programs in Michigan, Oregon and Wisconsin hosted a workshop with the North American Invasive Species Management Association on the topic of using messaging and metaphors in communicating about invasion biology. The “Invasive Species Language Workshop” was held in February. A half-day of webinar presentations was followed by a workshop in Washington, D.C., where attendees drafted guidelines and research priorities for inclusive communication and naming conventions.

More than 400 researchers, science communicators and invasive species managers attended. If you missed it, the webinar is available on YouTube.

Workshop co-organizer and Wisconsin Sea Grant Aquatic Invasive Species Outreach Specialist Tim Campbell summed up the experience. “This is the first time all of us have been surrounded by people with similar (but different) expertise and a willingness to dive into these issues. It’s also the first time any of us had the occasion to immerse ourselves in the topic. It was both inspiring and productive.”

Funding for the workshop was provided by the National Sea Grant College Program.