PETERBOROUGH, ON--(Marketwired - August 26, 2015) - With the support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the Invasive Species Centre and the Ontario Invasive Plant Council are establishing an Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR) Network to fight the spread of invasive species.

The project involves creating networks by training and equipping citizens to detect, respond to, and control invasive plants and insects in four pilot areas in southern and northern Ontario. Those areas include Credit Valley Conservation Watershed, Conservation Halton Watershed, Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay. The public can get involved in the initiative by volunteering or donating their expertise and time.

Invasive plants and insects are introduced to Canada from other parts of the world, and if allowed to establish, will take over ecosystems, altering the environment, economy and social enjoyment. They are expensive to control and eradicate and can lead to a loss of greenspace, trees and plants. For example, the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has killed more than one million trees in Ontario and the City of Toronto estimates it will cost $37-million over five years to cut and replace the city-owned trees that are killed by EAB.

The early detection of and rapid response to invasive species such as the EAB increases the possibility of controlling and potentially eliminating these species before they are established and become a costly and difficult problem for Canadians.

This project will also provide the opportunity for volunteers to get outside and work together on community improvement projects, and for youth to develop an attachment to the environment.

"The backbone of the network will be volunteers, landowners and community groups, who will assist in the detection and control of invasive species in Ontario," says Colin Cassin of the Ontario Invasive Plant Council. "Preventing and managing the spread of invasive species will help protect sensitive areas, increase local biodiversity and improve habitat that supports a diversity of plants and wildlife."

The project kicked off in June with three open houses; one in each of the pilot areas. The open houses attracted over 60 attendees from varying backgrounds. A volunteer package with a number of resources was given to each attendee and project collaborators from each area were available to answer questions.

Three free training workshops have now been set for September in each pilot area. The first one will take place Saturday Sept. 19 at the Mold-Masters SportsPlex in Georgetown (221 Guelph St.) from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

To register for this training workshop or another near you, please visit:

The workshops will include training on invasive species identification and tracking and reporting tools, an overview of available resources to assist volunteers with their efforts, and an outdoor field component where volunteers will receive hands-on training from experts to learn key invasive plant features and specific monitoring and control techniques. Lunch and refreshments will be provided, as well as transportation to field sites for the outdoor component.

"The attendance and feedback we received from the open house events proved to us that invasive species are on the radar of many Ontarians and that they are willing to take action to prevent and manage their spread. The training workshops will provide volunteers with the tools they need to undertake that action and spread awareness within their local communities," says Taylor Wright of the Invasive Species Centre.

About the Invasive Species Centre and Ontario Invasive Plant Council

The Invasive Species Centre is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that connects stakeholders, knowledge and technology to prevent and reduce the spread of invasive species that harm Canada's environment, economy and society.

The Invasive Species Centre: brings together experts; supports, coordinates and leads projects; and communicates findings and outcomes to prevent the spread of harmful invasive species. Visit our website at

The OIPC is a not-for-profit organization, dedicated to the collaboration and coordination of government agencies, citizens, and NGOs, academia, First Nations and industry in their work to prevent the introduction and spread of invasive plant species.

The OIPC provides leadership, expertise, and a forum to engage and share information on invasive plant species in Ontario. Visit our website at

Contact Information:

For all inquiries related to the Georgetown open house, please contact:
Colin Cassin
Ontario Invasive Plant Council
705.748.6324 ext. 281

For all inquiries related to the Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay open house, please contact:
Taylor Wright
Program Coordinator with the Invasive Species Centre