New interactive State Fair display is fun way to learn about invasive species

Minnesota State Fair visitors can learn the simple steps to prevent the spread of invasive species, with a fun new exhibit in the DNR Building. Animations on an interactive touchscreen let visitors clean a boat, pull the drain plug, and dispose of bait before leaving a public water access. On land, users can brush off their boots and hose down an ATV to prevent spreading terrestrial invasive species. 

“This new interactive exhibit allows people of all ages to practice prevention steps in a fun new way,” said Tina Wolbers, DNR aquatic invasive species prevention planner. “It’s designed so even young children can do it. This teaches them the principles of “Clean, Drain, Dispose” and “PlayCleanGo” at an early age. We find that children often remind parents and grandparents to follow Minnesota’s invasive species laws, once they learn these simple steps.”

“We encourage everyone visiting the Fair to visit the DNR Building and try it for themselves,” Wolbers said. “They’ll also find other exhibits that can help parents learn and teach their children about invasive species and the simple steps to prevent their spread.”

The new interactive projection system is designed to be portable, so it can be used in other high-traffic locations after the Fair and throughout the year.

“Clean, Drain, Dispose” are Minnesota laws to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species:

  • Clean aquatic plants and animals from watercraft.
  • Drain all water by removing drain plugs and keeping drain plugs out while transporting watercraft.
  • Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.

Some invasive species are small and difficult to see at the access. To remove or kill them, take one or more of the following precautions before moving to another waterbody, especially after leaving infested waters:

  • Spray with high-pressure water.
  • Rinse with very hot water (120 degrees Fahrenheit for at least two minutes or 140 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 10 seconds).
  • Dry for at least five days.

To stop terrestrial invasive species when hiking or riding:

  • Remove plants, animals and mud from boots, gear, pets and vehicles.
  • Clean your gear before entering and leaving recreation sites.
  • Stay on designated roads and trails.
  • Use certified or local firewood and hay.

Details about invasive species are available on the aquatic invasive species page.