Upper Midwest Invasive Species Conference in La Crosse, Wisconsin to Focus on Hazardous Wild Parsnip and Other Invasive Species That Threaten The Environment

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Invasive species are costing our economy billions of dollars, reduce native plants and animals' habitat, and can be a health hazard to humans. The upcoming Upper Midwest Invasive Species Conference in La Crosse, WI from October 16-19 will bring hundreds of people together including national and international experts to discuss strategies to reduce invasive species' impacts.

"The conference is designed to strengthen awareness and actions to manage invasive species, as well as promote local prevention activities."

Most people in the Upper Midwest this summer have been soaking up as much of the sun and nature as possible before the return of winter. But some of nature's beauty comes at a cost. Wild Parsnip, an invasive Eurasian weed that has become a growing problem for natural areas all across the Upper Midwest, can cause a blistering skin rash when the plant’s natural chemical that is left on skin interacts with sunlight. Some people can develop a severe blistering rash from touching Wild Parsnip that can last for several months, according to Dr. Mark Renz, University of Wisconsin - Madison Extension Weed Specialist.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources recommends covering a rash with a cool, wet cloth. Don’t pop blisters, keep the area clean and apply an antibiotic or cortisone cream. By learning to recognize the plant in different seasons and in different stages of growth, people can steer clear of it.

The fourth biennial Upper Midwest Invasive Species Conference (UMISC) to be held October 16-19 will teach participants how to identify, remove, and control Wild Parsnip in addition to dozens of other invasive plants, animals, and fish.

UMISC is the most comprehensive information exchange on invasive species affecting lands, forests, rivers, lakes, and wetlands in the Upper Midwest. With over 250 presentations, 2 plenary sessions, an exhibit hall, and networking opportunities, this is the largest regional gathering for people working on the research, management, and control of invasive species in the Upper Midwest and one of the largest in the US.

"UMISC’s theme is 'Sharing Innovative and Practical Solutions' said Mark Renz, University of Wisconsin – Madison Extension Weed Specialist and conference co-chair. "The conference is designed to strengthen awareness and actions to manage invasive species, as well as promote local prevention activities."

Researchers, land managers, natural resource professionals, educators, students, landscapers, lake association members, agency employees, and anyone interested in learning more about invasive species are invited to attend the conference at the La Crosse Center in La Crosse, WI. Over 600 people are expected to attend.

In addition to six concurrent sessions on most days, workshops will train attendees on invasive species identification and communication skills. Several field trips on Monday afternoon will bring attendees to scenic areas around La Crosse to view invasive species management and research in action.

Registration for the three full-day conference through September 1 costs $250, but a 20% discount is available with membership to one or more of the host organizations. Single-day rates, reduced rates for students, and press passes are available. For information and registration, visit http://www.umisc.net or contact conference administrator Belle Bergner at 414.967.1350 or bbergner(at)umisc(dot)net.

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Belle Bergner
Upper Midwest Invasive Species Conference
since: 08/2012
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