Pennsylvania Celebrates First Annual Native Species Day

Representatives from the Governor’s Invasive Species Council (GISC) gathered in Harrisburg today to announce Governor Wolf’s proclamation of Pennsylvania’s first Native Species Day.


The GISC created Pennsylvania Native Species Day to celebrate the diverse ecosystem of native plants, insects, and animals in the state, to increase people’s understanding of the benefits these provide, and to highlight the importance of protecting them as invasive nonnative species proliferate. Seven state agencies and 14 organizations make up the GISC. 

Today, leaders from the seven state agencies highlighted the importance of protecting native species and read the Governor’s Native Species Day proclamation at Pennsylvania’s Fish and Boat Commission headquarters.

 “Municipal and state officials, business owners, community organizations, and local residents are realizing the need to conserve this essential part of Pennsylvania’s natural infrastructure,” said Tim Schaeffer, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Executive Director. 


Speakers included Fish and Boat Commission Executive Director Tim Schaeffer, Council Coordinator in the Department of Agriculture Kris Abell, Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Assistant State Forester Matt Keefer, Acting Secretary of Health and Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson, Department of Transportation Acting Executive Deputy Secretary Melissa Batula, and Game Commission Director of Wildlife Habitat Management David Gustafson.


According to the Department of Agriculture, Pennsylvania is home to diverse native plants, trees, insects, fish, birds, and mammals that originated thousands of years ago and thrive in mutual dependence. This native ecosystem provides us with outdoor experiences that benefit our lives and supplies natural resources for a variety of Pennsylvania industries–agricultural food production, recreation, fisheries, timber, and more. Pennsylvania’s natural biodiversity is under increasing pressure from invasive nonnative species, creating a negative impact on economic and public health. 

“We are thrilled to join these partners in highlighting the work on our property that reduced erosion and restored natural stream flow while keeping native species in mind. Along with the 4,000 native plants and trees that have been added to the landscape, other habitat improvements will benefit native aquatic species and wildlife,” said

Wildlife, specifically native species of Pennsylvania, not only define our landscape but help keep our ecosystems in check. 

Governor Wolf’s proclamation:

GISC broadcast:

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