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Minnesota Recreationists Survey: Result Highlights

Susan Burks, MNDNR Forestry Inv. Spp. Prog. Coord.

As part of a USFS grant project, Minnesota (MN) carried out a phone survey of 1070 recreationists in order to measure the success of the state PlayCleanGo (PCG) outreach campaign over the last three years. Since the formal launch of PCG, 14% of those surveyed had seen the brand and its prevention messaging. Survey responses to a number of questions differed significantly by whether or not the recreationist surveyed had seen the brand or not.

Bar chart differ by PCG awareness

For active (frequent) recreationists, hiking (531 of 1070) and 4-wheeling (520 of 1070) were the most common activities. Frequent campers were the third most active (354 of 1070) group. Most recreationists surveyed participate in more than one outdoor activity.

Among all participants, those living in the Twin Cities were significantly* less likely than their counterparts in northern MN were significantly* less likely than their counterparts in northern MN to believe that terrestrial invasive species (TIS) are a serious threat that can hinder their outdoor enjoyment. The same was true for motorized recreationists when compared to non-motorized recreationists. Both groups were also less likely to believe that their actions make a difference in protecting our natural resources.

Bar chart showing difference between regions

Recreationists' responses to three survey questions differ significantly between regions. Northern MN residents were more likely to agree invasive species are a serious problem that could hinder their outdoor experience than were those living in the Twin Cities.

Bar chart showing difference between atcivity.

Recreationists' responses to three survey questions differ significantly by activity. Non-motorized recreationists' were more likely to agree invasive species are a serious problem that could hinder their outdoor experience than were motorized recreationists.

Participants familiar with PCG were more likely to believe TIS could hinder their enjoyment of the outdoors than those not aware of PCG. They were more likely to believe their actions make a difference and folks ought to clean their gear. They also were more likely to report knowing how to clean their gear to prevent the spread of harmful species than those who had not heard of the campaign.

Bar chart differ by PCG awareness

Recreationists' responses to four survey questions differ significantly by PCG awareness.

That being said, those aware of PCG were more likely to say cleaning their gear is not how they want to spread their time.

Although participants aware of PCG were on the whole more likely to give positive answers than other participants, the answers of those living in the Twin Cities followed the same pattern as those not aware of PCG.

Among those aware of PCG, women were more likely to believe they should only use local firewood and significantly more women >45 yrs of age knew where to find a good local supply. There were also significantly different responses among those aware of PCG in different income brackets, with those in the middle income bracket less likely to provide positive answers than those at either end of the income scale.

The sample size of those aware of PCG is small (14% of the population) indicating that MN has a long way to go in educating and enrolling recreationists in the action steps needed to protect our natural resources. However, the fact that responses from that small population of folks were significantly different than those from folks not aware of the campaign speaks volumes to how effective PCG prevention messages are at getting the point across.

The differences between those living in the Twin Cities and those living outstate suggests urban folks are either less aware of invasive species issues or less concerned about the potential impact of invasive species. Public awareness of the emerald ash borer as indicated by this survey and work by others would suggest the opposite is the case. It's apparent that public awareness of invasive forest pests cannot be used as a gauge by which to measure awareness of invasive species in general.

The differences between those involved in motorized sports and those involved in non-motorized sports is also interesting. A series of focus groups conducted before 2010 and used to inform the 2010 survey indicated that motorized vehicle users were more apt to regularly clean their gear than non-motorized trail users. Yet both ATV riders and horse-back riders were less apt to see the connection between their activities and the potential spread of invasive species than were other recreationists.

Past MN public land use surveys indicate that most outdoor activities are on the decline in this age of digital technology. The only outdoor activities that are still increasing are the motorized sports. As important, is the fact the most of the participants in motorized sports are young families - educating future generations of recreationists. So in MN at least, motorized recreationists will be a critical audience to reach and engage in PCG prevention messaging if we are to protect our natural resources over time.

This survey was meant to replicate a baseline survey conducted in 2010. However, the federal data protection act was passed between now and then, changing state and federal procedures involving the use of personal data. That meant our sampling procedures were different between the two surveys. Because the populations being sampled were different, we can't compare survey results, other than to point out the increase in awareness of the PCG campaign because the campaign didn't exist in 2010.

Note – All comparisons mentioned in the text denote significant differences in participant responses. In the charts, values of significant differences are in red. Values not significantly different are in black.

From PlayCleanGo

Calling All PCG Members!

Are you passionate about educating outdoor enthusiasts from all walks of life about invasive species prevention? Do you have an interest in guiding the future of the PCG outreach campaign? If yes, then we're looking for you! Two positions on the PlayCleanGo Steering Committee will become open at the end of the December and we are looking for enthusiastic individuals to take those seats. For more information, contact Sue Burks at 651-259-5251 or
Steering Committee representatives:

  • Chair/PCG camgaign mgr
  • Canadian national organization
  • United States national organization
  • Organization east of the MS River – OPEN IN JANUARY
  • Organization west of the MS River
  • Member at large
  • PCG graphic artist
  • Motorized recreationist
  • Non-motorized recreationist – OPEN IN JANUARY
  • Land management organization
  • Private organization
  • Public organization

Know What Color Codes (PMS) number are?

They are numbers that designate a particular shade of color used in your print media. Because colors can look different on different monitors and on different printers, there are color codes (PMS) to make sure you are getting the one you ordered. The color codes for all colors specified in the PlayCleanGo graphic standards are listed on page 3 of the standards. When printing new media or PCG clothing, be sure to use the color code for the shade you want.

We Need Your Input – Please respond to

We've noticed lately that a number of folks write in their type of partner organization when signing up to become a PCG partner rather than use the existing business types listed on the sign-up form. While none of us like to be put in a box, knowing the type of business gives campaign managers some idea of partner needs and structures. It is also very useful when developing cooperative grant proposals where cost-sharing is dependent on the type of organization. We'd like to update our sign-up sheet so the list of organization types better fits how you and your organization see yourselves. See the list we are suggesting below, which combines organization missions and funding source. Please review the list to see what best describes your organization. If you don't see your organization is this list, please let us know at what you would suggest as a more accurate grouping for your organization and others like it. Thank you.


  • Business Organization
  • Conservation Organization
  • Education Organization
  • Local Units of Government
  • Pest Managment Organization
  • Public Land Managers
  • Recreation Organization
  • State Agencies
  • Federal Agencies
  • Tribal Government

From PCG Partners

NAISMA Board Members Invade Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2016 In Salt Lake City To Promote PlayCleanGo

In a bit of a role reversal for invasive species managers, three board members from the North American Invasive Species Management Association (NAISMA) went to the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market (OR) to promote the adoption of PlayCleanGo by 'cold calling' unsuspecting outdoor retailers at their booth displays during the largest trade show of its kind in the world!

NAISMA adopted PlayCleanGo (PCG) as their international educational outreach campaign two years ago. For the first year and a half, NAISMA promotion efforts for the PCG campaign were mostly targeted towards public section agencies and non-profit organizations. However, the long term vision is to have the PCG Brand adopted and supported by both public and private interests across North America. Making an impact at the Summer OR Show 2016 was NAISMA's first major effort to broaden the PCG campaign's reach into the private sector.

The largest outdoor sports show on Earth (over 30,000 attend the event), the event is held twice annually, summer and winter, at the huge Salt Lake City 'Salt Palace' Convention Center and adjacent city venues. It showcases the latest technical innovations in outdoor sports gear and apparel from around the world. The goal is to provide education to retailers, sales representatives, and outdoor gear manufacturers to help improve their businesses. This includes everything from small up-and-coming start-ups to the largest outdoor equipment companies on the planet.

The conference bills itself as "the largest collection of innovative gear, apparel, footwear and accessories for outdoor sports products including adventure travel, backpacking, camping, hiking, climbing, mountaineering, cycling, mountain biking, fishing, fly fishing, health and fitness, military, nutrition and natural products, paddle sports, watersports, SUP, pet products, running, trail running, surf, skate, lifestyle, triathlon, multisport endurance, and our newest category yoga/Pilates". Trends in the outdoor recreational industry are defined at the Outdoor Retailer show.

Aaron Foster (NAISMA Past President and Fremont County Weed & Pest District Supervisor, Wyoming), Mark Daluge (NAISMA Board Member - Wyoming and Teton County Invasive Species Assistant Supervisor), and Kelly Cooley (NAISMA Board Member & Southern Alberta Weed Coordinator) were definitely operating out of their comfort zones!

For three days, the trio fanned out to cold call retailers at their displays in the Salt Palace complex, as well as satellite display zones beyond the main conference facility. They should have worn pedometers, as many miles were logged working their way through the show venues.

Bar chart differ by PCG awareness

Mark looking to hitch a ride through the maze of outfitters. Road Shower definitely got the connection to PlayCleanGo. Aaron checking out the latest in outdoor gear

Aaron, Mark, and Kelly were laden with backpacks full of PCG promotional materials provided by MNDNR, plus an  outreach video crafted by Orijin Media especially for the OR. Ryan Stolp and his creative team based the video on input from a team of folks including Susan Burks (Invasive Species Coordinator, MNDNR), Erika Edmiston (Supervisor, Teton County, WY Weed & Pest), Julie Kraft (Assistant Supervisor, Sublette County, WY Weed & Pest), plus Mark, Aaron, and Kelly. Erika, Susan, Julie, and Ryan also served as the remote support team for the trio working the trade show floor, ensuring the fellows had questions answered that arose from their interactions with exhibitors.

Generally, the reception from show exhibitors was very friendly and positive. Most thought the PlayCleanGo campaign sounded like a fantastic initiative, and a few were quite enthusiastic to explore the possibility of joining PCG. After the show, many did join the initiative! Follow up will continue with exhibitors visited at the show for several months.

Nothing happens for free, and the initiative at the OR Show would not have been possible without the support of:

  • North American Invasive Species Management Association
  • Minnesota Department of Natural Resources / PlayCleanGo
  • Wyoming Weed & Pest Council
  • Fremont County, Teton County, and Sublette County Weed & Pest Districts
  • Southern Alberta Weed Coordinator Partnership / CoolPro Solutions Environmental Consulting

The group considers this initiative a success, with hundreds of new contacts made to help support PlayCleanGo!

Idaho Goes to the International Envirothon

Jeffrey Pettingill, Bonneville Co. Weed Control, ID

1. Which of the following is not an example of what you Idahoans can do to prevent invasive species from impacting our society.

    1. Clean-Drain-Dry
    2. Play-Clean-Go
    3. Idaho Weed Awareness Campaign
    4. Plant-Wise

2. Economical impacts of invasive species costs Americans ______dollars?

    1. 120,000,000,000
    2. 120,000,000
    3. 120,000
    4. 12,000

Can you answer these questions? High schoolers that competed in the Idaho State Envirothon in April can! As a County Weed Superintendent, I was invited to present at Idaho's 2016 Envirothon. This is a High School level competition in Natural Resources similar to what the FFA is to Farming and Ranching. The annual event is sponsored by the Idaho Association of Soil Conservation Districts. These were some of the brightest students I have been around since the State FFA Convention. High Schools from all over the state brought groups or teams of students to compete at this state level competition. Through a series of guest speaker presentations, tests that the competitors needed to take and oral presentations, teams are narrowed down to the top three. The team that wins overall first place gets a chance to compete at the North American Envirothon. Each year the Envirothon has a different environmental topic/problem that teams research and develop a solution to; this year, the topic was invasive species.

Bar chart differ by PCG awareness

Education trailers that participating students were able to visit for some hands-on experience with invasive species.

This was one of the more difficult engagements for me, as a presenter. There were two expectations; a presentation about noxious weeds and the development and administration of an exam. In order to better prepare each team of students for a chance at their final presentation, a section of my presentation included the types of invasive species education and outreach programs that have been developed; including PlayCleanGo. I was able to discuss the efficacy of this campaign as well as how and why each high school could become a PCG partner. In addition to my PowerPoint presentation, there were two different noxious weed education trailers that students were able to tour to gain more knowledge of the ecological threats that noxious weeds pose to the environment. The final day of competition included the highest scoring teams of students giving oral presentations in front of a final panel of judges. These presentations were required to include an education/outreach component. Many of the students chose to include PCG! By providing students with important outreach and educational messaging through PCG, each team was successful in composing a great educational component into their final presentations. The 2016 Idaho State High School Envirothon champion team going to the North American event was Weiser High School!

The North American Envirothon (NAE) was held in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada on July 24-28, 2016. There were 52 teams that competed from across North America, the top three included Ontario, Pennsylvania and California. The NAE is an annual competition and succeeds in its mission to develop knowledgeable, skilled, and dedicated citizens who are willing and prepared to work towards achieving a balance between the quality of life and the quality of the environment. Find more at The Envirothon mission is accomplished by developing in young people an understanding of the principles and practices of natural resource management and ecology and through practice dealing with complex resource management decisions.

PCG Promotion in Montana

By: Shantell Frame-Martin

The PCG message has really taken off in Montana and currently there are 27 partners signed up and actively promoting PCG throughout Big Sky Country. Each of these partners continue to come up with their own creative ways to spread the comprehensive educational message to all recreationalists. County weed districts and the Montana Weed Control Association (MWCA) have been at the forefront of PCG in Montana. Recent projects that have been completed include signage placed at recreational areas, vinyl banners and Adopt a Trailhead Montana trailhead kiosks.

photo of trailhead kiosks

The Broadwater County Weed District based out of Townsend, Montana worked in collaboration with the Montana Noxious Weed Education Campaign (MNWEC) to design a small billboard featuring recreation themed activities. The sign was placed on state land outside of Radersburg, Montana, which is the gateway to Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands that are frequented by ATV recreationalists.

Vinyl banners have also been designed by the MNWEC for both Valley County (Glasgow, MT) and Carter County (Ekalaka, MT). These banners were developed with the intent to be mobile and will be placed at gas stations, fairgrounds, and other applicable gathering sites.

The Adopt a Trailhead Montana project will have a total of ten educational kiosks located on various public lands across the state including BLM, Forest Service (FS) trailheads and on city walking paths by the end of 2016.

PCG has really taken off in Montana and many recreational groups have jumped on board to help promote this educational message that is catchy, easy and doesn't take a lot of time to do!


PCG Steering Committee member Barry Gibbs, P.Ag.

photo of Barry Gibbs

Barry works out of Claresholm Alberta, a small town along the foothills of the Rockies, one hour drive south of Calgary or two hour drive north of the Montana border. His second career began when he started working as the Executive Director of the Alberta Invasive Species Council (AISC) in 2011. AISC is a non-profit organization formed in 2006 to build more awareness and understanding of the impacts of invasive species. He is also co-chair of the Canadian Council on Invasive Species, a national organization committed to engaging more Canadians in responsible actions to reduce the negative impacts of invasive species. His involvement with invasive species began back in 2007 when he joined the Board of the Invasive Species Council of British Columbia. Today, he is serving on that Board in the role of past-chair.

His first career began after he received his degree in Agriculture from the University of Saskatchewan. He spent 35 years with Dow AgroSciences Canada Inc.

He gained a lot of experience in weeds and pesticides when in sales, marketing, research, product development and regulatory.

Shout Outs

Landscape Restoration with Cheryl Culbreth at the helm was one of the very first businesses to adopt the outreach campaign after PCG was launched in 2012. With the spirit of a crusader, Cheryl is an educator, community activist and successful business woman. The Buckthorn Buster she manufacturers and distributes bears the PCG logo. Add it to your holster and you're ready for anything. Learn More »

buckthorn blaster buckthorn blaster showing PCG logo

Simple Squares and marketer Erin Miller is one of the most recent businesses to join the ranks of PCG partners, joining PCG after the OR show in Salt Lake City this summer. Those who attended the annual NAISMA conference will remember the yummy squares that Simple Squares contributed to the event. SIMPLE Squares are organic, paleo, nutrition bars infused with herbs. Free of wheat, gluten, dairy, soy + refined sugar, our nut + honey Squares are made with only 5 whole food ingredients.  Made with unfired fare (raw), the Square's power-packed nutrients are never compromised - straight, even, balanced + exponentially good. CERTIFIED Organic, Non GMO, Gluten Free, Paleo & Kosher. Learn More »

Thanks to both of these vendors for actively supporting invasive species prevention. You can thank them too by visiting their websites and putting their products to good use.

New PCG Products

PlayCleanGo Videos Coming Soon!

By: Erika Edmiston, Teton Co. Weed and Pest District, WY

The Wyoming Weed and Pest Council (WWPC) has recently teamed up with the talented folks at Orijin Media to develop 4 short PCG videos. The goal is to reach out to various recreational groups with the call to action – Play Clean Go. User groups that have been identified for the project include trail runners, mountain bikers, ATV/motocross users and horseback groups.

The inspiration for the videos comes from the 2015 award winning video "Where the West Begins". Produced in just 6 days by the Orijin team for the 1% For the Tetons video blitz, in partnership with the Snake River Fund, the video focuses on aquatic invasive species in the Greater Yellowstone Area. While the WWPC is paying for the development of the videos, they are by no means meant to be Wyoming-specific videos. The hope is that they will be shared far and wide. They should be ready to go with no additional edits necessary, however if PCG partners would like to add their own logos to the end of the videos, Orijin Media will be available to make small changes to the credits at their normal rates. Making for an inexpensive way for Partners to customize the videos if they so choose. Once you see the videos, contact Zach at Orijin if you'd like to discuss options for modifying to add local website/contact information to the end. Zach Montes: 206-200-1356

Trail Running:
Mountain Biking:

Pull-up Banners for Events and Retailers

Because of the demand for booths at regional events, PCG developed a set of three pull-up banners that can be used at regional trade shows and conferences. While they are designed to be used as a set behind the booth table, the two end banners can be used together while the center banner can be used alone, perhaps to the side or in front of the table.

three pull up banner for shows

The fourth banner was designed to be put up in retail stores as a stand-alone call to action to protect the places we love. Whether an outdoor clothing store, or equipment distributors, the banner speaks to all those who love the outdoors. All four banners can be found in the folder for Displays & Exhibits in the PCG Dropbox Graphic library.

store pull up banner

Wanna a cup of coffee?

Good idea! We have another one for you. Share our new PCG coaster with the manager of your favorite coffee shop or brew pub. At the moment the PCG logo is printed on both sides. But one side could have the logo of your favorite hangout. Share the coaster with businesses near trail heads, state parks, and scenic trails. Help promote their business among outdoor enthusiasts while promoting invasive species prevention. Again the graphic file can be found in the Dropbox graphic library, this time under Promo Items.


Western Weed Coordinating Committee (WWCC). Join the Western Weed Coordinating Committee (WWCC) in Las Vegas, NV on November 29-December 1, 2016 to promote the coordination and cooperation between participating agencies for managing noxious weed control problems, establish and promote inter-agency standards for managing noxious weed control problems and improve public awareness of the need for effective noxious weed management!

Interagency Research Forum on Invasive Species, January 10-13, 2017, Annapolis, MD. Hosted by the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), this is an international meeting of research scientists presenting their latest work.  Topics include all taxa, with a strong focus on invasive forest pests.

National Invasive Species Awareness Week, February 27- March 3, 2017. Participate in event across the nation to raise awareness and identify solutions to invasive species issues at local, state, tribal, regional, international and national scales. Locate an invasive species event in your state or county. Plan your own event using the NISAW Toolkit – where and when it works for you!

North American Invasive Species Forum- Building Cooperation Across Borders, May 9-11, 2017, Savannah, GA.The North American Invasive Species Forum is a biennial conference encompassing the interests of professionals and organizations involved in invasive species management, research, and regulation in North America. The Forum expands on the previous success of the biennial Weeds-Across-Borders conference, bringing together the international invasive species community. This Forum will include the latest information on policy and cross-border coordination of aquatic and terrestrial invasive species management – including discussions on innovative and effective approaches for collaboration with indigenous and tribal groups, local communities, government agencies, industry, not-for-profit organizations, and other stakeholders – with the objective of outlining a continental Strategic Framework for aquatic and terrestrial invasive species across North America.