USDA Illuminates the Jamie L. Whitten Building in Green to Highlight Invasive Plant Pest Disease and Awareness Month
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is observing Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month (IPPDAM) and the United Nations’ International Year of Plant Health (IYPH) by lighting in green the façade of its main headquarters, the Jamie L. Whitten building in Washington, D.C. USDA will illuminate the building for four nights in April, starting on April 18.
“It is fitting that the first time the USDA building is illuminated in this way it is to bring awareness to the life-giving role plants play and the critical need to protect them. Plants produce the oxygen we breathe and give us 80 percent of the food we eat, so they are critical to our survival, environmental health, and economic well-being,” said Dr. Osama El-Lissy, Deputy Administrator, Plant Protection and Quarantine Program of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). “But, according to the United Nations, invasive pests destroy up to 40 percent of the world’s food crops and cause $220 billion in trade losses each year.”
In celebration of the IYPH, APHIS is also partnering with the North American Plant Protection Organization and the Niagara Falls Illumination Board to hold a special illumination ceremony on April 19 and 20. The Falls will glow with green light to emphasize the need to protect plant health across North America and around the world. The illuminations will occur from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. for 15 minutes at the top of every hour. Visit EarthCam, to watch it live.
In the U.S. alone, these destructive insects and plant diseases—such as the Asian longhorned beetle, spotted lanternfly, and the gypsy moth—cost the U.S. an estimated $40 billion each year in damages to trees, plants, crops and related management efforts. APHIS urges members of the public to take simple, specific actions to leave invasive, hungry pests behind and protect our vital plant resources in the United States. Visit the Hungry Pests website to learn about invasive plant pests and diseases that are affecting or could affect your region and how to report them. Look for and report unusual signs of pests or diseases in trees and plants.