As a kid I loved fishing on Lake Minnetonka, but my favorite memories were going up to my great aunt and uncle's home on Lake Mille Lacs. With a cigar in his mouth, my great uncle and I caught jumbo perch, eel pout, and walleyes a plenty. Rarely did a day of fishing not end with a fish fry. Fast forward 30+ years. Many things have changed.
You have this person in your life. You may classify this person in a number of ways: unconventional, outdoorsy, adventurous, dirtbag. They may also go by Dad, Father, Step-Dad, Pops, or a number of other titles. And this person may seem hard to shop for. They have all the gear they need, and don’t really like extra “stuff” lying around. So what do you do?
Here are some gifts for the outdoor dad that you'll love to give — and they'll love to get, whether on Father's Day or any other special occasion.
The first-ever PlayCleanGo Awareness Week is taking place June 1–8, 2019 with events across North America!
As we get our gear out for the fun summer season of camping and outdoor adventures, will you pledge to take this week to learn all about invasive species and how they spread, become an expert at cleaning yourself, your gear, and your furry friends after your outside time, and take this opportunity to teach your friends?
Growing up active in school sports, I never had very much time to develop any hobbies and as a result I wasn’t sure what major I wanted in college-let alone a career for the rest of my life. I went in undecided, declared my major as psychology, switched to social work, but nothing really stuck. I worked at a hardware store during the summer and that didn’t help me make any decisions about my future.
Luckily for me, one of my friends suggested I apply at the Sublette County Weed and Pest (SCWP) District as a seasonal employee and make more money than I currently was. Always a sucker for a few more bucks, I applied and lo and behold I got the job. I knew nothing about invasive species and equated the job to something akin to landscaping. When our supervisors started our training and we sat through a slew of presentations on pesticides, applicator safety, and plant ID, I started to wonder what I had gotten myself into.
Boot brush stations are becoming more and more popular as a tool to both raise awareness about invasive species and to reduce the spread and establishment of new infestations. Often placed at trailheads, these boot brush stations offer education about local invasive species while inviting outdoor enthusiasts to remove foreign material including seeds that can be stuck on their shoes BEFORE and AFTER their adventure into the forest.
This type of spread prevention practice is similar to equipment cleaning, using only local firewood, and inspecting boats at ramps. Spread prevention aims to change behaviors to eliminate even the slightest opportunity for an invasive species to establish. This type of management avoids the costs and time of controlling or eradicating intact infestations.
But, are boot brush stations really effective?
In grade school, do you remember the decorated classroom doors? Each door had its own personality, distinct and characteristic of the teacher’s class. Looking back, one door in particular has been wedged in my brain. It was a colorful spring door that read, “April showers bring May flowers – but what do May flowers bring?” I’ve thought about this many times. Nothing has fit perfectly, until now!
April Showers bring Invasive May Flowers, but what do May flowers bring? Summer tourists, recreational activities, and the threat of spreading those invasive species - no one asked for that!
Land managers and natural resource groups invest heavily in invasive species control efforts to protect and maintain healthy biodiversity of native flora and fauna. However, obtaining that same level of commitment from right-of-way managers can be a different story. The highway department’s plan is simple - mow before plant material becomes a hazard!
For me, that was the beginning of my struggle! We don’t have the same goal for the resource, let alone speak the same management language. Have you had this same struggle; trying to figure out how you can get commitment from the highway departments to help mitigate such a complicated and cumbersome issue?
Well, here I am to walk you down the road less traveled, sharing techniques that worked for us!
Sometimes connecting the dots in what we enjoy in life happens in unexpected ways. I wonder how many people say that their passion for working to protect and restore our environment came from a paper towel.
On my first camping trip at the age of 11, I was canoeing the Fulton Chain of Lakes in the Adirondacks. Our instructors were giving us our first lessons in how to clean our dishes after dinner. We were told to put our used paper towels in the trash and that this trash would be carried with us until we carried it out of the wilderness.
As I was summiting Twin Sisters in Colorado, I felt like I was on top of the world! Emotionally, because there’s nothing better than hiking in the mountains, and literally because I was standing on an 11,427 ft. peak.
Then my mind drifted to more unpleasant thoughts—my annoying hiking partners also known as, invasive species. Particularly, I started to worry about how to properly clean off my hiking gear – my shoes, my socks, my pack, my clothes! I wanted to avoid tracking dirt, seeds and those illusive invasive species on an airplane, across the country, back home to Alabama. I needed to drop them like a bad habit, dump them like a bad boyfriend (or girlfriend).
What’s ‘bugging’ you? Or what’s invading your space? Seems like a simple question when asked on a personal level. But if someone were to ask about how “invasive species” bug us or our surroundings many of us draw a blank. So let’s talk “Invasive Species 101” and how you can help protect the places you love.