Regional invasive plants conference scheduled

MARQUETTE – If you’re concerned about unwanted plant species taking over local habitat, consider attending the upcoming Northern Great Lakes Invasive Species Conference next week in Marquette.

The fourth annual event, set for Oct. 24 at the Masonic Center at 128 W. Washington St., will address a variety of topics concerning invasive species that are displacing native vegetation.

The Upper Peninsula Invasives Council will present the RRIP-IT-UP! event, subtitled “Pathways of Invasion – Transport, Infestation and Control,” from 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. at the Masonic Center. RRIP-IT-UP! stands for the Rapid Response Invasive Plant Intervention Team of the U.P. and is a project of the Upper Peninsula Resource Conservation and Development Council.

Resource professionals from the natural resources departments of Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota will be part of an interactive discussion panel focusing on collaboration to control the spread of invasive species.

“We created this conference to increase communication and collaboration among all the individuals and groups working on invasive plant species in the Upper Peninsula and across the border in Wisconsin,” said Andrew Bek, a member of the conference planning committee and executive director of MooseWood Nature Center.

Professionals in forestry, agriculture, resource management, trail networks and infrastructure such as powerlines, gas pipelines, roadway and railways are stakeholders, Bek said, but the topic is more inclusive.

“Anyone who is interested and concerned about the invasion of unwanted plant species into our environment is invited,” he said.

Bek said there will be a hands-on training session at 3 p.m. Oct. 23 to demonstrative invasive plant removal and remediation techniques.

Participants can take part in sessions on a variety of topics during the Oct. 24 conference. The charge for the conference is $30 ($25 for full-time students), which includes lunch. The registration deadline is Friday, with the cost of late registration $40 ($35 for students).

For more information, contact the council at 225-0215 or email jason.schnorr

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.