Students and teachers gathered from all over South Georgia on Tuesday, July 6, 2010 for the first EDDMapS Workshop in Georgia at the UGA Tifton Campus. The workshop, organized by Susan Reinhardt for the Young Scholars Program, allowed students and teachers to learn how to find invasive species, why they are harmful and how to report them online through EDDMapS.
Karan Rawlins, Invasive Species Coordinator at the University of Georgia’s Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health, taught the workshop which included a field trip where students and teachers saw and collected data on invasive plants firsthand.
“My goal was to show them that invasive species are everywhere, even in their own backyard,” says Rawlins. “They were shocked as we found over a dozen invasive plants in a small area on campus. They included mimosa, Chinese wisteria, Japanese honeysuckle, Chinese tallowtree, Japanese climbing fern, wild taro, and Chinese privet.
As the invasive species were found, the group took pictures of the each plant, and the GPS coordinates were gathered. This information was later put into a mapping system called EDDMapS. EDDMapS is a web-based mapping system that focuses on documenting invasive species distribution across the United States. It is quick and easy and available for anyone to use.
The Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health hopes to continue these workshops throughout the state to inform the public how to report invasive species online through EDDMapS.
Visit www.eddmaps.org to learn more about reporting invasives throughout the United States.
(Erin Griffin is the Outreach and Communication Coordinator with the University of Georgia Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.)