In 1970, Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson initiated a tradition for which President Bill Clinton would bestow on him a 1995 Presidential Medal of Freedom. Today, it is the most widely observed civic event on our planet: Earth Day.
While it behooves us to live mindfully year-round, the holiday, which went global in 1990, serves as an annual reminder to look after the land we all call home. Invasive species are the second leading cause of biodiversity loss worldwide, second only to direct habitat destruction. Often introduced through human activity, non-native plants spread rapidly without their own natural predators to keep them in check; they can supersede local flora and disrupt an ecosystem’s food chain.
Multiple conservation organizations and volunteers will come together in Joshua Tree National Park this Earth Day to do a little spring cleaning. Conservation lands manager Jennifer Prado of Friends of the Desert Mountains says the predominant species affecting our area are Sahara mustard, fountain grass, and tamarisk.
“Apart from conserving the land,” she says, “the most important thing you can do is protect it from invasive species.”
Joshua Tree National Park, April 22. To RSVP, visit: www.deserthorticulturalsociety.org