Volume 22, Number 3
Call for Citizen Scientists to Map Invasive Plants
By Lauren Pile & Dacoda Maddox| USDA Forest Service Northern Station
Have you noticed the spread of urban non-native, invasive plants into rural and natural plant communities? How about seemingly innocent plants monopolizing your garden? Do you want to help scientists track non-native, invasive plants in Missouri? If so, this opportunity is for you!
The USDA Forest Service has developed a tool for citizen scientists and practitioners to report invasive plants in our state. Citizen scientists, like you, can now document the extent and severity of these invasive plants in the Show-Me State.
Invasive species are expanding from developed areas and threaten the ecological integrity and biodiversity of surrounding natural areas, including our national and state lands. This is why the USDA Forest Service, with our partners, developed a citizen science based app to help map invasive plant species in Missouri. Knowing the location and extent of these plants will allow land managers to make informed management decisions. The app is simple to use, fast, convenient, and free! We provide pictures and links in the app to aid in species identification. Whether you want to actively search for invasive plants or casually collect data while walking the dog in your neighborhood, your input will be invaluable.
Simply scan the QR code with a QR reader using your smartphone camera to open the survey. While you can run the survey online, we recommend youdownload the app for offline use. In addition, the USDA Forest Service is partnering with University of Missouri Extension to offer workshops this fall in Columbia, Jefferson City, and Rolla. These 2-hour workshops will help you better understand the ecology of invasive plants, how to identify invasive plants in Missouri, and will provide a tutorial on how to download and use the survey. You'll also leave with ideas for native plant alternatives in your home landscape. This is a great opportunity to hone your invasive plant ID skills and meet others in the community interested in Missouri forest-health issues. USDA Forest Service research foresters and research ecologists will be on hand to field any questions you may have about Missouri forest health concerns.
For more information about the citizen science invasive plant mapping app, contact Dacoda Maddox of the USDA Forest Service at DacodaMaddox@fs.fed.us.