As you travel from one photogenic location to another you might be inadvertently bringing along an invasive hitchhiker. It might be a seed from a plant, a tiny mollusk, an insect, or another small organism that gets attached to your boots, tent, vehicle, or pet. As much as we pay attention to not having a negative effect on the landscape or wildlife of an area, we should pay equal attention to not bringing in anything that doesn’t belong, and not taking out something that shouldn’t leave.
Right now, the mid-Atlantic states are battling the spotted lanternfly, the latest invasive pest threat. While they don’t pose a danger to people or wildlife, they do pose a peril to agriculture and can damage a number of important crops as well as several varieties of trees. Authorities have quarantined multiple Maryland counties, restricting the movement of any material that might harbor the spotted lanternfly in any of its life stages. Residents and visitors are asked to check bicycles, trash cans, firewood, etc. before moving them to a different location.
It’s all too easy for boots and gear to pick up freeloaders while we’re concentrating on photography. Standing in a stream to set up a photo of a waterfall can lead to aquatic critters getting stuck on our watershoes or waders. Bushwacking through the brush to photograph that bear can get all sorts of seeds, brambles, and sticky things caught on our clothes. So it’s all too easy for us to bring these organisms from one place we’re photographing to another if we’re not careful.