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Statewide Eyes Program Calls on Citizens to Help Find Invasive Plants

Department to Host Trainings Statewide, Seeks Participants

Statewide Eyes participants on the hunt for invasive plants

Statewide Eyes participants on the hunt for invasive plants

Citizens and scientists are working together to tackle the problem of invasive plants on state lands through the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ new Statewide Eyes program. Statewide Eyes is seeking people interested in identifying and mapping invasive plants that threaten ecologically sensitive sites.

“We know that invasive plants are out in the landscape threatening rare species and habitats, but we need better information about which species are where, and what kinds of risks they pose,” Kerrie Kyde, the department’s invasive plant ecologist said. “With the help of trained citizen scientists our department can discover vital information about these plants much more efficiently than we can on our own.”

Naturalists and other state land users are invited to sign up for a Statewide Eyes training session, taking place at sites across the state this spring. Here, participants will learn about invasive plants and how to use the free Mid-Atlantic Early Detection Network smartphone app to identify, map, document and report them. The Mid-Atlantic Early Detection Network sends user data to a national mapping service where the reports are available for expert analysis.

“The information gathered through Statewide Eyes will give us tremendous power to plan and carry out invasive plant management work in the places where we can have the most impact,” Kyde said. “It will allow us to find invaders before they cover too much territory for us to remove them.”

For more information or to register for training, click here.