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NISAW Webinar: The Invasive Species Language Workshop

February 27 @ 12:30 pm - 5:00 pm


February 27 @ 12:30 pm 5:00 pm

Part of the National Invasive Species Awareness Week series

Communicating about invasive species can get complicated! On February 27-28, in partnership with NAISMA for National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW), Sea Grant is proud to present The Invasive Species Language Workshop, bringing together invasive species researchers and science communication professionals to share best practices for communicating about biological invasions to scientists, stakeholders, and the public.

Day 1 (February 27) will feature a 2-hour NISAW webinar on communications issues in invasion biology, including inclusive language, effective use of metaphor, changes to species names, and more. These hybrid presentations will be available to watch online for free, and virtual attendees will be able to send in questions for discussion.

  • 12:30 Welcome – Elizabeth Brown (NAISMA)
  • 12:40 Workshop Background, Charge – El Lower (Michigan Sea Grant) & Tim Campbell (Wisconsin Sea Grant
  • 12:45 Cliff Notes on Inclusive Language – El Lower
  • 1:00 Words have Power – Sam Chan (Oregon Sea Grant)
  • 1:20 ESA Better Common Names Project – Erin Cadwalader* (Entomological Society of America)
  • 1:30 Renaming Spongy Moth – Leigh Greenwood* (The Nature Conservancy)
  • 1:45 A Framework for Adopting More Inclusive Common Names – Megan Weber (University of Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center and UMN Extension)
  • 2:05 Naming Presentations Q&A
  • 2:15 Break
  • 2:25 Standardizing Invasive Species Terminology for Stakeholder Education – Basil Iannone* (University of Florida)
  • 2:45 Setting expectations for invasive species management through consistent terminology – Gadfly Stratton (University of Toronto)
  • 3:05 Considering emotions when communicating and framing invasive species issues – Angie Gupta* (University of Minnesota Dept. of Forest Resources & Extension)
  • 3:25 Invasive Species Message Frame Tests on Social Media – Tim Campbell and Laurel Downs* (The Nature Conservancy)
  • 3:35 Just Language for invasive species communication – Neha Savant (New York City Parks)
  • 3:55 Summary of Arc Network Problematic Jargon in STEM Workshop – Virginia Rhodes (ARC Network)
  • 4:15 Framing and Terminology Q&A and Closing

Day 2 (February 28), held in-person in Washington, DC, will feature in-depth discussion to develop research topics and interventions to improve communication strategies in invasion biology, including the process for changing species names, harmonizing communications strategies across agencies and research groups, tailoring messaging to different stakeholder groups, and more. Attendance for this portion is limited: reach out to Tim Campbell ( if interested in participating in person.

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About the Region

New Braunfels, the location of our Fall 2024 Symposium, straddles both the Edwards Plateau Ecoregion and the Blackland Prairie ecoregion. Interstate 35 divides the city of New Braunfels; its path through the city closely parallels the boundary of these two ecoregions, with the Edwards Plateau on the west side and the Blackland Prairies region to the east. The Edwards Plateau area is also called the Hill Country; however, this general term covers a much larger area extending farther north. Spring-fed creeks are found throughout the region; deep limestone canyons, rivers, and lakes (reservoirs) are common. Ashe juniper is perhaps the most common woody species found throughout the region. Additional woody species include various species of oak, with live oak (Quercus fusiformis) being the most common. Sycamores (Platanus occidentalis) and bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) border waterways. This area is well known for its spring wildflower displays, though they may be viewed in spring, late summer, and fall, as well. According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, average annual rainfall in the Edwards Plateau ranges from 15 to 34 inches.

The Blackland Prairie extends from the Red River south to San Antonio, bordered on the west by the Edwards Plateau and the Cross Timbers, and on the east by the Post Oak Savannah. Annual rainfall averages 30 to 40 inches, with higher averages to the east. This region is dominated by prairie species. The most common grass species include little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) and Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans) in the uplands and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) in the riparian areas and drainages. Common herbaceous flowering plants include salvias, penstemons, and silphiums. This area has suffered greatly from overgrazing and agricultural use. Few intact areas remain, though many of the plants can be found along county roadsides throughout the region.

Our four host chapters (New Braunfels, Lindheimer, Guadalupe, and the Hill Country chapters) are located in one or both of the ecoregions above. However, the eastern portion of Guadalupe County also falls within the Post Oak Savanna ecoregion. Annual rainfall averages 35 to 45 inches, with higher averages to the east. A wide variety of hardwood trees are found, including several species of oaks, elms, and in the Bastrop area, loblolly pine (Pinus taeda). Grasses and forbs dominate in the open savannas, with most common grass being little bluestem. Ranching, agriculture, and fire suppression have allowed woody species to encroach on the once-open savannas.

Source: Wildflowers of Texas by Michael Eason