We say this every December, but what a busy year! With twice as much staff, ISN was able to accomplish so much in the world of invasive species management. Combined efforts in treatment and education helped us tackle some large plant infestations and reach more people than ever. Take a look at some of our impressive numbers below. Continue reading to see the complete annual report.
It is also bittersweet to announce that Outreach Assistant, Miriam Owsley, will be leaving ISN and joining another great organization in Traverse City. She has been an invaluable resource this year and we will miss her but congratulate her on this new opportunity! That being said, ISN will be hiring her replacement (hopefully in a full-time capacity) soon. Read on below for more information.
Thank you for a great year and don't forget to stay in touch this winter! As always, you can continue to report invasive species sightings to the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network.
Another year of protecting, enhancing, and promoting northwest Michigan's natural communities through terrestrial invasive plant management and outreach in Benzie, Grand Traverse, Leelanau, and Manistee counties has come to a close, and ISN workers and volunteers have been quite the busy bees!
Volunteers pull garlic mustard at Clay Cliffs Natural Area (Leelanau County)
In addition to continued funding through the first Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program (MISGP) cycle, ISN was awarded additional financing through the EPA (Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, GLRI) and US Forest Service, as well as a second grant from MISGP. Together, these grants allowed ISN to focus on growing Go Beyond Beauty and target source populations of high-priority invasive plants in addition to continuing ISN's ongoing work.
The EPA GLRI grant is focused on outreach and education, specifically highlighting ISN's groundbreaking Go Beyond Beauty program to voluntarily remove invasive ornamental plants from trade. ISN is now able to offer more resources than ever before to assist businesses, and more changes are in the works; stay tuned! We're already seeing success: since October 2015, 2 new businesses have joined the program. Check out which businesses have made this awesome commitment on our website: www.HabitatMatters.org/Go-Beyond-Beauty/ A survey crew was also funded, allowing ISN to look for invasives in a massive amount of the four counties' area.
ISN crew treats Japanese knotweed on Veteran Oak Grove Drive (Manistee County)
The grants from MISGP and the US Forest Service combined to allow ISN to tackle some otherwise insurmountable obstacles: the Japanese knotweed on roadsides-especially Veterans Oak Grove Drive-in the City of Manistee, baby's breath near Elberta Beach, and the invasive Phragmites in Betsie Bay, Arcadia Marsh, and Manistee Lake. In 2016, ISN focused on obtaining permission to treat these species on public and private lands, with our first big push of treatments taking place in August, and continuing through the fall. In 2017, we'll be able to hit the ground running with treatments, and add restoration work (planting native plants in high-risk areas) to our to-do list.
In addition to these special projects, ISN's "normal" work continued. Outreach and education efforts in our four counties progressed, with numerous presentations, workbees, workshops, and media interviews. A "check-out" crew targeted ISN's Top 20 Species for treatment, working side-by-side with partners and private landowners.
Our grant success has allowed us to bring two new members on to the ISN team: Fields Ratliff, our Habitat Management Specialist, and Miriam Owsley, our Outreach Assistant. Fields is from Antrim County, where he now lives with his family of four, and has an extensive background in on-the-ground invasive species management; at work he's focused on treatments and field work. Miriam, hailing from Leelanau County, has experience in marketing, outreach, and public involvement and education in Freshwater Studies focusing on policy; she's been presenting to municipalities, assisting with Go Beyond Beauty, and assisting with permissions and behind-the-scenes work. We're excited to have Fields and Miriam, and all the expertise and enthusiasm they bring, on the ISN team.
If you have questions, want to get involved, or wish to schedule an engaging presentation to an interested group (school group, garden club, interest group, local government, or other) contact Katie Grzesiak at email@example.com or (231) 941-0960 x29 or visit HabitatMatters.org .
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