Plant health knows no borders: North America shines bright green to mark International Year of Plant Health
From: North American Plant Protection Organization
April 16, 2021 - Raleigh, NC – North American Plant Protection Organization
Working together under the umbrella of the North American Plant Protection Organization (NAPPO), Canada, the United States and Mexico are lighting up a series of public buildings and iconic monuments in the colour green the evenings of April 19 and 20, 2021, to mark the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH). The event is also in celebration of a continued North American partnership in plant protection.
The “Plant Health Knows No Borders” illumination initiative is especially poignant in April, which is Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month.
The following North American landmarks shine green for the IYPH:
- Both the Canadian and American sides of Niagara Falls
- Canadian Museum of Nature
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Jamie L. Whitten headquarters building on the Washington National Mall
- Government Buildings in Mexico City
- Mexico Independence Monument
- Monument to Cuauhtémoc, last Aztec Emperor
- Mexican’s Revolution Monument
- Monument to Mexico’s Oil Industry
People across North America will be invited to join the event through social media and the Niagara Falls webcam and to amplify the images and content on their social media channels with the goal of furthering the plant health movement.
With a growing world population and increasing global trade, plant health is more important than ever to ensure a steady food supply, a healthy environment, and a strong economy in the NAPPO region and around the world.
Canada, the United States and Mexico have been collaborating to promote the International Year of Plant Health and to protect plant health across North America.
“Plant health knows no borders. Invasive insects and plant diseases easily cross international borders. That is why it’s important to work together with our neighbours to protect our precious resources. As a leader in plant protection, Canada enthusiastically supports the International Year of Plant Health. We’re excited to see that our collaboration with the United States and Mexico is helping raise awareness of plant health. I encourage all Canadians to be vigilant about plant protection and help spread the word through social media.”
-The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Canada
ʺThese illuminations in Canada, Mexico, and the United States demonstrate a powerful solidarity in plant protection that stretches across North America. This event will raise public awareness about the need to protect our vulnerable plant resources against damaging invasive pests. These pests can devastate crops, throw ecosystems out of balance, and jeopardize the livelihoods of farmers and ranchers. We encourage people to visit HungryPests.com to learn how they can make a difference by preventing the unintentional spread of invasive pests.”
-Dr. Osama El-Lissy, Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Plant Protection and Quarantine.
“It is important for Mexico’s society to be aware that plant health drives sustainable agriculture, fosters economic and commercial development, creates responsible practices which help reduce pest spread and encourage scientific innovation. These are essential for the development of Mexico’s fields as they contribute to human wellbeing and to build wealth and social peace.”
- Mr. Francisco Ramírez y Ramírez, Mexico’s Plant Health General Director
- Canadians can help protect plant health by:
- reporting any unusual plants or insects to the CFIA or on social media @InspectionCan
- burning only local or heat-treated firewood to reduce the spread of plant pests like the emerald ash borer that hide in firewood
- engaging kids in becoming plant health heroes through fun and interactive youth activity booklets
- being careful about where plants and seeds are sourced and, if buying online, choosing reputable domestic suppliers, or importing them legally to avoid exotic pests and diseases
- getting involved with the #PlantHealth and #IYPH conversations on social media to raise awareness about plant protection
- visiting the Canada-IYPH website to lean more.
- Mexicans can help protect plant health by:
- Avoiding animal and plant commodities from entering Mexico
- Avoiding moving plant and animal commodities within Mexico
- Strengthening institutional coordination with growers and industry
- Offering a legal framework which allows the production of healthy and quality food and the avoidance of bad practices
- Promoting plant health regulations and a legal framework for those involved in the food chain to work in favor of a healthy diet as well as centered in good production, manufacturing, packing, storage and shipping and sale practices,
- Promoting a plant health culture among consumers to demand healthy, safe and quality food
- Raising awareness with and motivating growers to support sanitary and safety programs to reap the benefits of trading their commodities overseas.
- Americans can help protect plant health by:
- Familiarizing yourself with the invasive pests already found in your area, as well as the tell-tale signs they leave on wild plants and agriculture
- Looking for signs of invasive plant pests and diseases and report them to your local Extension office, State department of agriculture or your USDA State Plant Health Director’s office
- Declaring, when returning from international travel, all agricultural items, including soil, to U.S. Customs and Border Protection so they can ensure your items arrive pest-free
- Avoiding moving untreated firewood. Buy certified, heat-treated firewood or responsibly gather wood where you burn it to avoid unintentionally spreading tree-killing beetles that hide inside untreated firewood
- Being careful about where you source your plants and seeds. If you purchase them online, choose reputable domestic suppliers, or import them legally to ensure you don’t also accidentally import exotic pests and diseases
When in doubt, and before buying seeds or plants online from international vendors, you can contact your local USDA State Plant Health Director’s office to find out what you need to do to bring them into the United States legally and without pests
- The International Year of Plant Health focuses world attention on how protecting plant health is essential in helping to end hunger, reduce poverty, protect the environment, and boost economic development. It was extended to June 30, 2021, due to COVID-19.
- NAPPO was created in 1976 to provide a forum for public and private sectors in Canada, the United States and Mexico to collaborate in protecting plant resources and the environment while facilitating safe trade.
- The Niagara Falls illumination schedule is available on the Falls Illumination website.
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