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Songs Raise Awareness about Aquatic Invasive Species

Wisconsin anglers and boaters will get music with a message as the University of Wisconsin-Madison launches a trio of rock, rockabilly and folk songs about preventing VHS fish disease, zebra mussels, and other aquatic invasive species from spreading to new lakes and rivers.

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“These songs were created to encourage behaviors that will protect the quality of our lakes and rivers for future generations,” said Dr. Bret Shaw, the UW assistant professor of Life Sciences Communication who directed the project. “Research shows music can influence how we respond to messages, affecting memory, emotion, attitudes, and even behavior.”

Shaw, also environmental communication specialist for University of Wisconsin-Extension, has been working with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, UWEX and the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute to help shape outreach efforts to inform boaters and anglers about the steps they need to take to prevent accidentally spreading VHS fish disease and aquatic invasive species.

Shaw recruited a group of award-winning Wisconsin songwriters to focus on preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species, which are threatening lakes in the state.

The songs have received exposure on a number of radio stations throughout the state, and are also being distributed with help from the UW Extension Lakes Program, the DNR and the Wisconsin Association of Lakes.