The Third National Invasive Species Forum attracted a diverse attendance of almost 100 participants from across Canada and beyond, including practitioners, provincial invasive species organizations, stewardship groups, invasive species researchers, local, provincial and federal governments. Presenters came from as far as the European Union, Michigan, and right across Canada from Prince Edward Island to the Yukon and British Columbia.
The key themes of the Third National Invasive Species Forum were as follows:
- Early response
The program for INVASIVES 2017 was diverse, incorporating keynote presentations, plenary and speedy sessions, presenters from across North America and a full day of workshops along with plenty of opportunities for networking throughout the Forum.
The Forum was officially launched with a welcome by Basile Van Havre, Director General Domestic and International Biodiversity Policy, Canadian wildlife Service, Environment and Climate Change Canada, who spoke on the State of the Nation & Key Emerging Priorities. Myriam Dumortier, Biodiversity Policy Advisor for the European Commission, delivered a keynote presentation on the “The new European Union Invasive Alien Species Regulation and the Future of Eradication, Management & Control of Invasive Alien Species in the European Union”. A series of themed presentations followed the first keynote speaker. After lunch, presenters provided ten-minute spotlight presentations from across the country. Presentations followed on emerging issues and invasive species at our borders. Following a plenary session on what more is needed to combat invasive species at our borders, day one concluded with an evening reception which provided a great opportunity for attendees and presenters to network and make connections.
Day two commenced with a welcome from Barry Gibbs, Co-Chair of the Canadian Council on Invasive Species. Dr. Anthony Ricciardi of McGill University provided an engaging and insightful keynote presentation on New Management Paradigms for Biological Invasions: Natural Disasters and Sustainability. A series of presentations on horticulture followed and including hearing from the Canadian Horticulture Council.
Six presenters from National and North American organizations provided a series of spotlight ten-minute presentations from their leadership on current initiatives.
After lunch on day two of the Forum, the format was switched to “Speedy Sessions” which is a series of concurrent, small group, round table discussions on specific species, programs or initiatives. Attendees had the opportunity to participate in eight consecutive round tables for ten minutes per table and when the bell rang, it was time to move to the next table. This high energy format enables smaller groups to have two-way conversations and make key connections with subject experts from across Canada and the United States of America.
The final session of themed presentations focused on “Early Detection, Rapid Response Success Stories and Lessons Learned” and featured presentations from across Canada on a variety of species including invasive fish, plant and insect species.
— Ontario Phragmites (@ontariophrag) March 1, 2017
Throughout the two days of the Forum, attendees contributed to the conversation on social media which was visible on screens between presentations on a “Tweetwall” which filtered and showed all Tweets and Instagram posts with #NISF2017, along with a leaderboard displaying the top 10 contributors.
On day three, attendees participated in two half-day workshops. The morning workshop focused on pathways, kicking off with a presentation by Erika Jenson of the Great Lakes Commission on “How to address the Internet Trade of Invasive Species”. Although there are many challenges with curbing online sales of invasives, a relatively new pathway, the project has seen successes and attendees learned how this type of technological project could be applied globally to curb the online sale of invasive species.
A series of presentations followed on aquatic, forestry, horticulture and pet and aquarium trade pathways. Presenters and attendees then participated in a facilitated workshop on what more can be done to close the pathways into and within Canada which produced many great recommendations.
The afternoon Communications workshop was both educational and productive. Heather Badenoch from Village PR, a public relations company that specializes in helping non-profits, provided five steps to making a successful communication strategy.
Using this knowledge and the skills and experience of the attendees and presenters, the day concluded with a look at Canadian Council on Invasive Species’ Draft National Communications Plan with a facilitated session to gather input and recommendations on the Plan.
SOCIAL MEDIA COVERAGE
Attendees and folks who couldn't attend the Forum in person were able to follow and interact with the Forum host, the Canadian Council on Invasive Species and the attendees of the Third National Invasive Species Forum on social media using the hashtag #NISF2017.
During the Forum the Tweetwall contest incentivized attendees to tweet or post on Instagram. The result was a social media conversation which involved people around the world with 524 posts using the hashtag, which reached 317,988 unique Twitter and Instagram users and achieved 472,267 impressions, which shows that social media can truly help to raise awareness of the national and international issues of invasive species.