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Serving: United States

Celebrating plant health

USDA photo by Tom Witham Green lights illuminate the USDA’s Jamie L. Whitten Building in Washington, DC on Sunday, April 18, 2021.
Green lights illuminate USDA’s Jamie L. Whitten Building in Washington, D.C. on April 18, 2021. The lights will remain lit through April 21. The lighting is part of Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month and United Nations International Year of the Plant Health celebrations.
Learn how to protect plants from invasive species during Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month.

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., for four nights, from April 18 to April 21.

“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% 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 of the Plant Protection and Quarantine Program of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. “But, according to the United Nations, invasive pests destroy up to 40% of the world’s food crops and cause $220 billion in trade losses each year.”

In celebration of the International Year of Plant Health, 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. Watch it live:

NiagaraFalls glowing in green.

In the U.S. alone, destructive invasive insects and plant diseases—such as the Asian longhorned beetle, spotted lanternfly, and the gypsy moth—cost us 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 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.


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