Monday, July 2, 2012

The Hunt for Invasive Species Slogans – 2nd Edition - Rhyming

We are developing a series of posts to highlight some of the more memorable and fun slogans on invasive species that you can find on publications, bumper stickers, and t-shirts.  This series on invasive species slogans will include occasional posts covering different aspects of the topic.  These slogans seem to fit into three broad categories: Play-off, Alliteration, and Rhyming.  The first post dealt with Play-off slogans.  Here in this second post, I am going to concentrate on Rhyming.
If you know of some slogans that haven’t yet been posted in this series, please send them to

*UPDATE:  The third post, on Alliteration is up and available now HERE and the fourth post, on Mascots, is available HERE.

I’m convinced that, at some level, everyone wants to be a poet.  Why else would we work rhyming into our lives everywhere we can?  During my search for invasive species-related material, I came across a lot of rhyming slogans, catch-phrases, and tag-lines. 

"Give a Hoot, Give Weeds the Boot!"

Nobody meshes environmental education and rhyming better than Woodsy Owl.  For years, Woodsy has been the voice against pollution and littering, but at least in this one instance, he ventured over to invasive species.  This statement was the tag line for an entire invasive weed activity kit for children developed by the USDA Forest Service in 2003.  I have a hard-copy of this kit, but have not been able to find it online anywhere so you are just going to have to take my word that this is real.  Along with the catchy rhyming slogan, the kit comes with a series of posters on invasive species, including this one with a sinister-looking yellow starthistle and a very worried horse.

I wouldn't want to run into that plant in a dark alley

"Emerald Ash Borer:  Unlucky for Kentucky"

This is definitely one of my all-time favorite invasive species slogans.  Perhaps my opinion is swayed by the fact that I am from Kentucky or that I own a tote-bag with this logo on it.  We're the coolest family at the supermarket when we load up our groceries into this tote!  The rhyming slogan is great, but the entire thing reaches a new level of awesome with the addition of the horse preparing to squash the upside-down emerald ash borer.  I would love to know who designed this so that I can give them proper credit.

*UPDATE:  I just got a note in from the fine folks over in KY with the answer to my question.  This logo was designed by the University of Kentucky's Joe Collins.  Great job Joe!

"Start to Care... Stop AIS from being there"
This nice slogan came out of a marine biology class project at Newport High School in Newport, Oregon.  (On a side note, I wish I could've taken a marine biology course in high school, but when your school is at least fourteen hours from the closest 'marine' habitat I guess it isn't an option!)  I like this straightforward slogan.  As the picture above states, AIS stands for Aquatic Invasive Species.  This logo along with the slogan was placed on bumper stickers and sweaters and is (was?) for sale in the Newport area.   Congratulations to the class for their creativity and their desire to raise awareness about invasive species.

"Know Before You Grow"
One of my criticisms of the invasive species management community is the negativity of our messaging.  We tell folks to 'stop spreading invasive species', to 'don't pack a pest', or to 'refrain from planting invasive ornamentals'.  These are all important messages but our audience may get somewhat beaten down if all they hear is 'No, no, no!'  That is why I like the Plantwise initiative underway.  This collaborative effort does talk about the dangers of invasive species but gives the whole message a positive spin by telling their audience to plant non-invasive species, to learn about native plants in your area, and to be 'Plantwise.'  Better yet, they give you the tools necessary to do these through their partnership with the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center. 

"Keep Our Waters Great! Don't Dump Your Bait!"
h/t Kim Bogenschutz

Another great slogan from the aquatics people!  This one comes from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and was on a flyer that focused on Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia, better known as VHS.  Not only is this statement relevant to VHS, but invasive fishes, mussels, and plants can all be spread through this pathway.  I've got some bait-bucket stickers with a similar (though not rhyming) message from Illinos-Indiana Sea Grant.  Hopefully this rhyming slogan will appear on its own bait bucket sticker soon!

"CLEAN, DRAIN, DRY  Hello Fish, Invasives Goodbye!"

This slogan and ad came from the BLM.  Three simple steps, each one word, instructs the audience what to do and then the rhyming second part tells of the end results!  In this slogan, the rhyme is useful as it seems to help me remember the steps to take.  The big fish in the middle of the picture grabs your attention and makes you want to read more.  If it was up to me, all material on aquatic invasive species would feature rhyming and a huge fish!

"Slow the Spread by Boat and Tread"

Wisconsin ISAM Grand Prize winning poster
Clara Montes, Grade 5, Kohler Elementary School, Kohler, WI

Without a doubt, kids are the most creative amongst us.  The Wisconsin Invasive Species Awareness Month committee held a poster contest for 4th and 5th graders across the state.  The kids developed their posters based upon the above rhyme.  I can't tell you how much I enjoyed looking through these posters and admiring the talent, knowledge, creativity and artistry on display.  I highly recommend visiting the Wisconsin ISAM website at to view these posters.

Since we are on the topic of kids and invasive species, I want to take this opportunity to shamelessly brag on my kids. They do their part against invasive species, as evidenced by these pictures.

Cleaning boots and pulling up some garlic mustard!

Other Additions

Some rhyming slogans that I found didn't have a poster or other visual to accompany them but I want to add them into the mix anyway.  The first is an often used phrase when discussing edible invasive species.  Here it is attributed to Illinois' own Governor Quinn when talking about Asian Carp:  "If you can't beat 'em, eat 'em".  I've eaten my fair share of invasive species and I can tell you these are words to live by!

Last, is a creative double rhyme that I found in an article by Irene Shonle with Colorado State University Extension.  "Weed 'em and reap: Leave 'em and weep".  A nice slogan but really needs a cool illustration to go with it!

*UPDATE:  After posting this, Jessica Sprajcar, from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, sent me a note informing me that they've been using the "Weed It & Reap" slogan as the title to a feature in their Wild!Notes newsletter since 2007!  How could I have missed that?  Best of all, this section of their newsletter features a drawing by Jessica herself of the targeted pest behind bars!  It doesn't get any better than that.  You can view the Wild!Notes archives at

Here is just one of the many great drawings by Jessica.
The sad face on the incarcerated stiltgrass
is the perfect addition to this post!

The Rhyming section of this series proved to be as creative and fun as the Play-off section.  I hope you've enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing and researching it.  Keep an eye out for the third section on Alliteration coming soon!  And, as always, if you have good examples of invasive species slogans, please share them with me at  Also, if you have cool pictures of invasive species mascots, outfits, illustrations, etc.  Send those as well.  To follow the Illinois ISAM news blog, 'like' us at

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