About the Midwest Invasive Plant Network
By Kate Howe
Here are some of the things we’re doing to assist your work on the ground in Illinois.
One of MIPN’s first accomplishments was to establish a listserv that provides a forum for discussion on invasive plants in the Midwest. Ten years after the listserv started, we have over 550 subscribers and host discussions on control techniques, new invasive plants, job and funding opportunities, and upcoming events. MIPN also hosts a website to provide information on all things related to invasive plants in the Midwest (www.mipn.org), including links to great resources provided by our partners.
MIPN is particularly interested in reducing the sale of invasive ornamental plants in our region. We’re working on outreach to both green industry and consumers about the impacts of ornamental invasives on natural areas and better alternatives for landscaping. Consumers can get information on what to plant and what not to plant in our brochure (also available as a free iPhone and iPad app) called Landscape Alternatives for Invasive Plants of the Midwest. We are also nearing completion of a video called “Cultivating Awareness: Ornamental Plants Invading Natural Areas”, which shows Japanese barberry, burning bush, and Callery pear invading natural areas in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. This video is aimed at demonstrating the impacts of these invasive plants when they escape from cultivation.
In order to spread the word about new species of concern in our region, MIPN created two flyers called Keep a Lookout for New Invasive Plants in the Midwest, one for terrestrial plants and one for aquatic plants. These flyers include photos, range maps, and descriptions of diagnostic features to help in the identification of these new species.
We have also partnered with the University of Wisconsin, Colorado State University, and the National Park Service in the development of the Great Lakes Early Detection Network (GLEDN), a web-based alert system that allows users to sign up for e-mail alerts of new species in their area of interest. GLEDN compiles information from multiple online databases into one website (www.gledn.org) and allows users to directly report invasive plant sightings. This tool improves our knowledge of where invasive plants are in the Midwest and where they might be heading next.
There is a lot of information available on control methods for invasive plants, but how do you pick the right method for your particular needs? MIPN has created a searchable on-line database of control methods, designed to help land managers and landowners compare and contrast all methods for managing a particular species and select the best one for their needs. Users can also report on their personal experiences with particular control methods, allowing us to share information that is not available in the published literature. Check it out at http://mipncontroldatabase.wisc.edu.
|A poster session at the MIPN annual conference|
For those who already know the basics but want to learn about the latest developments in invasive plant research and management techniques, we host an annual conference on invasive plants in the Midwest. The conference provides opportunities to learn through formal presentations, poster discussions, and informal conversations. This year’s conference will be held December 11-12 in Columbus, Ohio in conjunction with the North Central Weed Science Society Conference.
For more information about the Midwest Invasive Plant Network or to access any of our resources, visit www.mipn.org.