Play Clean Snow? Winter Is Still a Time to Stop Invasive Species
woman plays in deep snow
Woman kicking up her feet in thick snow with a pond with grasses in the background.

In much of North America, winter is a time where we don’t think a lot about plants apart from Christmas trees, especially where there’s snow on the ground.  However, it’s a key time for seeds spread and even the beginnings of sprouting. A PlayCleanGo pledge is just as important in January as it is in June!

Winter Wonderland

Winter is a great time to get out and explore—with seasonal leaf-off, it’s easier to get to areas that might otherwise be difficult to access. It’s also a hop, skip, and a jump to get across frozen lakes and ponds and get a completely different view of the world.  Being outdoors is also perfect for combatting cabin fever. A hike, snowshoe, or ski through a natural area can boost your spirits and your health!

Stopping Hidden Hitchhikers

All that effortless access and reduced foliage means something else too—seeds clinging to stems and pods are that much easier to brush up against while you’re out touring the season. But since our minds aren’t often on weeds and, it’s easy to forget to be vigilant about cleaning our gear to prevent invasive species from spreading. Play close attention to bindings, laces, and soft fabrics; when we wear a lot of slippery, water-resistant fabrics that don’t pick up much, it’s easy to forget about those nooks and crannies that do.  If you have a furry friend or other gear, they need cleaning too!

Boot Brush Buried? Bring Your Own

If you’re in an area with snow, there’s a good chance that the bootbrush stations you’ve depended on all year are now inaccessible. This means planning ahead—don’t forget to pack your pocket boot brush or throw a scrub brush in the car. 

Written by Katie Grzesiak

Katie Grzesiak is the Coordinator of the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network (ISN). In concert with her work at ISN, Grzesiak currently helps wider invasive species efforts shine through serving on the Michigan Invasive Species Coalition Core Team and the tri-national steering committee for the PlayCleanGo® campaign.

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