New Invasive Species Website Developed with Extension Master Gardeners in Mind

Invasive Species CoP Image- eXtension
Invasive Species CoP Website within eXtension

We are excited to announce that the new Invasive Species Community of Practice (CoP) web page in eXtension will be officially launched on February 26th, the first day of National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW). A team of educators from land grant and sea grant universities across the nation have worked together for over a year to create this resource for Master Gardeners, County Extension Agents and staff as well as others.

Master Gardeners Surveyed to Develop New Invasive Species Resources

Our goal was to create a resource for reliable, current, and science based information on invasive species that is easily accessible and easy to use. The first thing we did was to conduct a survey of state Master Gardener Coordinators and Master Gardeners from across the U.S. 196 people participated in the survey.

We asked what type of information would be most useful to Master Gardeners. Good images ranked number one, with information pages coming in a close second. Frequently asked questions (FAQs), Ask an Expert (AaE) and invasive species mapping were also included. Although the Invasive Species CoP focus has been on invasive plant species, all types of invasive species will be included over time at the Invasive Species web page in eXtension.

Invasive Species Profiles: Combining Facts, Photos, Mapping, and More in an Easy-to-Use Resource

Invasive Species Images
Aquatic Invasive Species: Potamogeton crispus, Curlyleaf Pondweed. (Photo: Graves Lovell, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources,

We also sought advice from Master Gardeners as we were creating the format for the invasive species profiles. Each species has its own profile page, includes:

  • Basic information
  • Images with descriptions
  • Where to report an infestation
  • Learning materials (such as ID cards for field use)
  • Images of native species that resemble the invasive
  • Links to information from universities across the U.S, so that relevant information for each region can be found; and more.

The format for each invasive species profile is simple and straightforward, with every profile being laid out the same way.  You can quickly scan down the profile to find the specific information you are looking for on an invasive species.

What can you do to be part of this Invasive Species CoP education effort?

Now that we’ve launched the Invasive Species CoP educational effort, we would like to ask for your help yet again. Listed below are some ways you can help. Contact me,  Karan Rawlins with information you wish to contribute about Invasive Species CoP or if you have any other questions or comments about these resources.

  1. If you have images for an invasive species or images for a native species that resembles an invasive please submit them to Bugwood Image Database.
  2. If you know of native species in your area that resembles an invasive and it is not listed please let us know so we can add them.
  3. If you know of invasive species related events, like training or management projects, please let us know so we can post them on the Invasive Species CoP calendar for everyone.
  4. If you know of additional resources we can link to, especially educational resources related to invasive species. Resources for professionals, volunteers and children are all welcome.
  5. If you have ideas on how we can make the Invasive Species CoP information better, please let us know.

Last but definitely not least, the Invasive species CoP team would like to say, “Thank You!” to all the Master Gardeners around the country whose contributions to this project have been invaluable.

by Karan Rawlins
Invasive Species Coordinator
eXtension Invasive Species CoP and
Center for Invasive Species & Ecosystem Health
University of Georgia