Garden Protectors

In our vastly urbanized world, there isn’t much natural or undeveloped landscape left for wildlife, and the plants grown in our designated “green spaces” or yards, are often not native.

There are many specialized relationships that exist between plants, birds, pollinators, and other wildlife that are disrupted by invasive species. This is because native plants have co-evolved with native wildlife and insects. For example, black and pale swallow-worts are invasive vining perennials that outcompete native common milkweed, which is the preferred host of the larvae of monarch butterflies, studies have learned that when monarchs lay their eggs on these invasive swallow-worts, their larvae die.

Therefore, we must protect our gardens from further alteration from invasive plants.

You can help by taking the steps outlined below.


Agreeing to take these actions awards you this Garden Protectors Badge. 

Download this image and share it on social media to show how you’re a Garden Protector! To download, right-click the image and select “save as” to save it to your device. Then upload it on social media – tag @sleloprisminvasives or use hashtag #iPledgeToProtect.

Simple Steps

  • Grow plants native to your region.
  • Avoid non-native plants that self-seed because they have the potential to move outside of your garden.
  • Diversify your landscape.
  • Clean your lawnmower and all-terrain vehicles after use to avoid spreading seeds.
  • Use mulch that has been kiln-dried or make your own mulch.
  • Transplanting. To avoid spreading invasive worm castings, be sure to remove soil and rinse the roots of transplanted plants prior to planting in your garden.
  • Clean your tools between uses so as to not spread disease from plant to plant.
  • If composting, ensure the pile has 30 days of exposure to temperatures of 145 degrees or more to kill seeds from tougher weed species.
  • Take care of plant parts before composting: bag, tarp, dry, chip, or drown plant parts to ensure invasive plants do not take root.

Support Our Efforts

Report invasives found in gardens and assist early detection efforts. 

Aid Early Detection Efforts

 Searching for invasive species populations in an effort to detect their presence before their populations become too large to manage is vital to reducing the impacts of invasive species on our natural ecosystems.

Click the link below to learn more about the species we’re enhancing early detection efforts for and to join our invasive species Volunteer Surveillance Network to aid this effort. 


Report Invasive Species

NYiMapInvasives is an online, collaborative, GIS-based database and mapping tool that serves as the official invasive species database for New York State.

 Click the links below to become familiar with iMap

Join a statewide early detection effort for spotted lanternfly and tree of heaven by adopting a grid square to survey for these species through iMapInvasives. 


The resources below provide general management techniques that gardeners can use to control invasive species on their property. 


Watch webinars, view brochures, and other resources to help you protect your garden from invasive species and support pollinators. 

In our highly urbanized world, our yards often provide vital habitats for pollinators and native wildlife. Our yards also may be a pathway in which invasive plants may escape into our natural environments. You can support pollinators and wildlife and protect natural areas by choosing to grow native plants in your yard.

This webinar discusses the power of native plants, alternatives to exotic and invasive plants, some invasive species to keep an eye out for. Nature-based community science opportunities that you can participate in right from your own backyard will also be shared.


Megan Pistolese- SLELO PRISM

Sue Gwise- CCE Jefferson 


View this list of flowers, grasses, shrubs, trees, and vines native to New York State. developed by the NYS DEC. 

Discover native plants, ranked by the number of butterfly and moth species that use them as host plants for their caterpillars.

NYiMapInvasives.org is the offical invasive species database for New York State. Professionals and community scientists alike can utilize this platform to report and obtain distribution data for invasives across the state. 

This is a guide to native plants on New York’s Great Lakes shorelines. In it, you’ll learn about plants and techniques to stabilize the shoreline, increase drainage and lots more helpful information.

The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation is an international nonprofit organization that protects the natural world through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitats.


An easy-to-use mobile app that helps you identify native and invasive plants and animals. 

A science-based platform where you can share observations of plants and animals with a community of naturalists.

 A homeowner’s quick guide to recognizing and preventing the spread of invasive jumping worms. This guide was developed by the Jumping Worm Outreach, Research & Management (JWORM) working group to help homeowners identify and prevent the spread of jumping worms.

 The Regional Invasive Species & Climate Change Management Group has developed a pamphlet that showcases native flowering plants, grasses, shrubs, and trees that benefit native wildlife and are more resilient to changing and warming climate conditions. Impactful statistics regarding benefits that native plants provide and costs of invasive plants are provided; in addition to, historical and future projected hardiness zone maps, and plant growing conditions and ecological benefits.

The Invasive Plant Management Decision Analysis Tool (IPMDAT) helps natural resource managers to determine if an invasive plant control project is likely to be successful and if it warrants an investment of their agency’s or organizations resources.


A list of prohibited and regulated invasive plants in New York state. 

This brochure features native plants selected from master gardeners of Jefferson County. 

This brochure includes a list of native alternatives to common invasive ornamental plants. 

This brochure features plants to avoid growing from the New England Wildflower Society.


Dr. Douglas Tallamy, the author of Bringing Nature Home and Nature’s Best Hope, explains the vital specialized relationships that exist between plants and pollinators and the importance of growing native plants in your yard.