RESTORE: Research, Education & Stewardship to Restore our Environment

Educating citizens on invasive species

Wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei) is covering the ground and climbing the trees with Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus) in the shrub layer. Both of these are commonly sold species that are invasive. Image courtesy of Will Drews

Invasive species pose substantial threats to biodiversity and ecosystem services. The vast majority of invasive plants that threaten our natural areas stem from landowner choices to landscape with invasive ornamentals, which then spread to protected lands.

To address the significant deficit in invasive species awareness and management on private lands, this multi-partner, education, and citizen science initiative is offering workshops, establishing a toolkit lending library, and engaging Monroe County landowners as citizen scientists to investigate the ecological factors that contribute to successful control of invasive plants and restoration of native plant communities.

Led by IU Associate Professor Heather Reynolds, this project aims to increase landowner knowledge of invasive plants and encourage invasive species control activity on private lands. Outcomes are being measured via pre- and post-surveys of participants in workshops and the team’s citizen science project.