As a global hub of trade and commerce, the lower Hudson Valley and northern New Jersey are particularly vulnerable to invasive species that can harm our ecosystem and even our economy. To combat this threat, the Trail Conference launched the innovative Conservation Dogs program in 2018, the first of its kind in the Northeast. Dia and Fagen work exclusively to protect the native habitats of New York and New Jersey by sniffing out invasive species. There is an ever-growing number of species our dogs can detect, including those targeted for eradication by the Lower Hudson Partnership for Invasive Species Management (PRISM) and species of national concern.
Early detection is a key component of invasive species management, but detecting invaders early can be difficult due to initially sparse distributions of small or cryptic species. This is where dogs can be helpful. In 2010, the journal Invasive Plant Science and Management published a study that concluded trained dogs could smell and detect twice the number of invasive plants that humans could observe with their eyes. The addition of conservation dogs to the Trail Conference’s Invasives Strike Force (ISF) increases both the quality and quantity of our invasive surveys. Dogs help us find unknown infested sites, establish infestation borders, and detect hard to find individuals that could lead to persisting infestations.
you’re an organization thinking of hosting a public outreach event
you’re a local educator who wants to get kids excited about ecology with an education demonstration
you’re a rescue/shelter that has a dog that would excel as a conservation dog in our program
We love engaging with our community, so please reach out!