PCG ATV Wash Station

By: Rich Courtemanche, Aitkin County Land Department, MN

On the banks of the Mississippi River, in the town of Palisade Minnesota, the Mississippi River Water Trail and the Northwoods Regional ATV Trail intersect. At that intersection the Aitkin County Land Department (ACLD) manages a great little campground called Berglund Park. Since the completion of the ATV trail this full service facility has seen its occupancy triple. However, the increased use also brings an increased exposure for the movement of invasive species. ATVs covered in mud, traveling the trail system, can easily move seeds of invasive species. Invasive species became a reality when Garlic mustard was found on the ATV trail in 2014. Luckily, that garlic mustard invasion was treated, and the threat was contained. 

ATV power wash stationHowever, Aitkin County Land Department felt that it had to become proactive; public awareness of “PlayCleanGo” is not always enough. Good intentions and public messages need to be supported with the resources to make stopping the movement of invasive species a reality. By providing a facility to clean dirty equipment, ACLD hopes good intentioned people would help reduce the spread of invasive species. 

ACLD was able to obtain a grant to upgrade the bathroom and electrical facilities of its campgrounds on the Mississippi River. A portion of those funds were directed to allow ACLD to build an ATV wash station. The investment of six thousand dollars allowed ACLD to install a pressure wash system and construct a catchment facility for seeds, mud and debris.  A pay tube was installed to receive donations.

After two trail seasons, the facility is working as designed and is well used. The low maintenance cost, lack of vandalism, and the high level of usage is exactly what the trail system needed to help slow the spread of invasive species.

100+ Attend PCG Summit in Reno, Nevada in October 2017

By: Belle Bergner, NAISMA Executive Director

PlayCleanGo Summitt view of conference room Ken Donnelly, Owner of Beyond Attitude from Nova Scotia, Canada
gave the PlayCleanGo Summit Keynote.

The PlayCleanGo Summit was a major highlight of the 2017 North American Invasive Species Management Association's Annual Meeting in Reno, Nevada this past October 23-26, 2017.

Summit participants came from far-reaching corners of the US and Canada ranging from British Columbia to Nova Scotia in Canada; Washington to New Mexico, and Georgia to New York in the US.

Sue Burks, PlayCleanGo Founder and Belle Bergner, NAISMA Executive Director welcomed attendees. Case study presentations highlighted PlayCleanGo programs and efforts underway in several different states and provinces, including a similar national campaign to stop the pest pathway through the transport of wood, Don't Move Firewood. Presentations were followed by roundtable discussions that allowed PlayCleanGo partners to talk informally about how they utilize PlayCleanGo in their areas, what resources they would like to have moving forward, and how to grow the campaign. A final Keynote presentation from Ken Donnelly of Beyond Attitude Consulting discussed why and how Community Based Social Marketing (CBSM) works. CBSM is the basis of the PlayCleanGo campaign.

Some suggestions from roundtable discussions included: getting PlayCleanGo represented at more recreation-oriented conferences; work with state wildlife agencies, school programs and environmental education to integrate messaging and create a partner’s blog and message board; facilitate training opportunities for PCG partners; reach out to national companies, organizations, and agencies; and host regular conference calls and webinars for all PlayCleanGo partners.

Fundraising is one of the program's top priorities now. Belle Bergner discussed how the steering committee is developing a tiered partner and sponsor program to facilitate contributions from organizations and agencies ranging from very small sizes with limited budgets to large international corporations with big marketing dollars.

Another Conference or Summit is likely to be planned in 2018, stay tuned for dates!

News from PCG Partners


Boot brush sign with person using boot brushNEW PlayCleanGo signs & Boot Brushes in British Columbia Provincial Parks

By: Laurie Frankcom, Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society, British Columbia

Leaves changing colour, crisp air, the harvest moon; these are signs that autumn has arrived. This time of year is an ideal time to go enjoy the great outdoors and go for a hike. Go outside and play, however be sure you are not bringing any unwanted invasive species with you that could be hitching a ride on your boots, backpack, clothing, vehicle or pet.

The Kootenays is blessed with an epic selection of hiking trails and it’s now easier then ever for YOU to protect them. The Central Kootenay Invasive species Society (CKISS) and B.C. Parks worked together to encourage park users to ‘Play Clean Go’ in order to protect native ecosystems against invasive species introduction and spread. You will see NEW ‘Play Clean Go’ signs and boot brushes at 18 different trail heads and recreation sites within B.C parks located in the West Kootenays.

Give invasive species the brush off: YOU have the power to minimize these impacts by cleaning your stuff and staying on the trail!

Where can you find these new signs & boot brushes?

  • Pilot Bay Park
  • Kokanee Glacier Park – Woodbury trailhead and Gibson Lake trailhead.
  • Valhalla Park – Slocan-Evans trailhead, Drinnon Pass trailhead, Gimli trailhead, Nemo Creek, Evans Beach
  • Syringa Park – Yellow pine trailheads (3)
  • Champion Lakes Park
  • Nancy Greene park
  • Goat Range Park – Wilson Falls trailhead


Niobrara State Park Outdoor Educational Rendezvous

By: Terri Krysl, Northeast WMA, NE

Northwest Weed Management display area Members from the Northeast Weed Management Area felt privileged to join the Outdoor Educational Rendezvous for the last two years. This is a fun and educational event held the first Friday of May every year at Niobrara State Park located in Northeast Nebraska. This event is to introduce students, teachers, parents and volunteers to the wonders of the great outdoors.

This event began 17 years ago with Park Superintendent Mark Retting’s birding book and a pair of binoculars. Since then, the event has blossomed into 1300 students and teachers in attendance. There are 140 volunteers that make the event work. Students, Teachers and Parents are introduced to such things as: fishing, raptors, archery, tomahawk throwing, the growth of trees, making smores, noxious weed identification plus so much more.

The Northeast Weed Management area is complete with display boards describing and picturing noxious weeds found in our area. The students are entertained by Steve Banks describing the importance of watching for these weeds and to make sure they remove any seeds stuck to their clothing, shoes and pets. The students end with a fun game of outdoor Tic-tac-toe to reinforce their love of the many things to do in the great outdoors. This educational event has introduced a new audience to the importance of watching for weeds and not spreading their seed from place to place. All the while they are learning the great experiences and fun things to be found in the outdoors. The excitement in the participants voices of all that they are experiencing makes this event a fun learning event for everyone involved.


New Pathway for Common Reed (phragmites australis)

Brent Meyer, Weed Control Superintendent, Lancaster County, NE

Some days in the weed business we are faced with the same old thing day after day… and then some days something will come to our attention to make us wonder….  What the heck???

Rooster tail close up Rooster Tail close up

We are constantly looking at pathways as to how invasive plants end up where they do and this is one that I hadn’t seen before.

It has been brought to our attention in Nebraska that a stuffed Rooster manufactured in China and shipped to the United States, was being sold as a decorative item…. So what?  Right? Turns out, the components in the wings and the tail feathers is actually Common Reed, or as we refer to it in Nebraska – phragmites.

The rooster was first found by a Plant Health Trade Compliance Officer for Nebraska and Iowa working for USDA-APHIS-PPQ. The inflorescence was positively identified thru the Federal office and the inspector was able to get the store in Lincoln to pull it from the shelves, and at least not
offer it for sale.

The photo is from the inspector and the fact sheet sent to her by the company.

It might be worth looking into in your city and State to see if your local Pier 1 Imports store is or
other Global Market retailer are selling these and if you have any authority to have them pull them. Pier 1 Imports are still offering them for sale. If the link doesn’t work, just google Pier 1 Imports Rooster. You can easily check to see if your local stores have them in stock on this web page.

Good luck and I would be interested in hearing from all of you across North America on what you find in your area. You can contact me at 402-441-7817,

Rep. Spotlight

Pat Conzemius

Pat Conzemius at podiumPat Conzemius, Executive Vice President- Wildlife Forever & Clean Drain Dry Initiative

After three years on the National PlayCleanGo Steering Committee, we bid Pat Conzemius a fond farewell as our private organization representative. Pat has taken a new position as the Executive Vice President for Wildlife Forever, who leads the national Clean Drain Dry Initiative. Through innovative grassroots community engagement, Pat has helped Wildlife Forever become a leader in invasive species prevention outreach and education. Wildlife Forever's national coalition leverages multiple communication and marketing services and on-the-ground resources for invasive species prevention programming.



Call for Partner Articles!

Do you have a great invasive species curriculum, lesson plan or fun educational game you play while teaching about invasive species or PCG event you’d like to tell us about? If so, we’d like to hear about it and share it our quarterly PCG newsletter! Please send your article (don’t forget to include photos) to Shantell ( so that they can be featured in the June 2018 edition of the PlayCleanGo Newsletter.


Changing of the Guards

We are also bidding Erika Edmiston a fond farewell after three years representing western states on the National PlayCleanGo Steering Committee. Erika has been an active member of the committee organizing past articles and the last Partner webinar on social media.  She will be missed. If you have a chance, give her our best and check out her bio in the winter (January) 2017 issue of the PlayCleanGo enewsletter. Past enewsletter issues can be found at the bottom of our Resources/Links page.

We have identified a great candidate to fill Erika’s position as the western state representation. Please give Betsy Macfarlan with the East Nevada Landscape Coalition, a warm welcome. However, we have not yet identified candidates to represent private organizations (Pat’s position) or non-motorized recreationists. We would prefer one or both positions be filled by someone located in an eastern state or province to help balance out our national representation. However, all active partners are encouraged to consider joining the committee to help guide the national campaign. Committee positions are typically three years long, although two year exceptions can be made upon request. We hold four on-line meetings a year. If you are interested in joining us or know an outdoor enthusiasts who would be a great addition to our group, please fill out the Committee Member Nomination form to tell us a little about your nominee. Thank you very much.  


NISAW logoNational Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW), February 26-March 2, 2018

National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW) is set for February 26-March 2, 2018.  For information about programs, presentations and events taking place around the country, visit: You can also add events you are planning for the week to the interactive map located on this website.  Also, be sure to check out the PCG Facebook page during NISAW week; as this site will be a ‘hub’ of information sharing for partners to post events and presentations to along with interesting factoids about various invasive species and prevention tips!  Be sure to log-on to Facebook and tell us your plans and events and share materials you have developed to promote NISAW and PCG!


PlayCleanGo logoSAVE THE DATES - PlayCleanGo Partner Webinars Coming Up

Join PlayCleanGo for these unique learning opportunities, exclusively for PCG Partners! Watch for more details to come over the next few months.

What: Using Social Media, Part II

Where: Online – Join us from any computer or phone! 

Date: Tuesday, March 13

Time: 1:30 - 3:00 PM MST (Mountain Standard Time)

This online training session will take another deep dive into the world of social media, this time with a look at Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. From an intermediate perspective, learn about:

  • What’s new on Facebook? + More advanced techniques…
  • Scheduling ads & your Facebook ad budget
  • Several ways your message can be seen by others on LinkedIn
  • Best tips for using Instagram, a very popular Millennial platform
  • Create striking visual content easily, with just one website
  • On the go!  Using mobile apps for your social media
  • How team members can support overall marketing efforts

This specialized 1-hour training, plus a dedicated half-hour discussion for Q&A will touch upon many different topics in the Facebook, Instagram & LinkedIn world.  Also, please feel free to let Rose know in advance what you’re curious about, and she’ll provide answers to them in this webinar!

Email Rose directly at 

What: Customizing and Creating New PCG Materials for Local Use

Where: Online – Join us from any computer or phone! 

Date: Tuesday, April 17

Time: 1:30 - 3:00 PM MST (Mountain Standard Time)

This online training session will review the PlayCleanGo graphic standards and discuss how to customize existing materials or create brand new PlayCleanGo materials to serve local needs. Learn about:

  • What you can do yourself versus what PlayCleanGo can do for you to customize existing materials
  • Modular formatting
  • PlayCleanGo color palette
  • Co-branding strategies
  • Integrating terrestrial and aquatic messaging

 This training session will address past and recent questions from PlayCleanGo partners and talk a little about some of the new products coming down the pike.   There will also be time for Q&A to address topics specific to your locals needs.  

Joint Upper Midwest Invasive Species Conference and NAISMA annual conference, October 15-18, 2018 to be held in Rochester, MN.

Watch conference website as more information becomes available.

Conference logo

Play Clean Go