Published on 07/23/10

High school students, teachers get schooled on invasive species

By Erin Griffin

High School students and teachers from all over south Georgia gathered in Tifton earlier this month to learn more about invasive species and what to do if they see them.

The Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System is a web-based system anyone can use to report and document invasive species. The teachers and students attended the first-ever workshop for the system in Georgia.

The workshop was organized by Susan Reinhardt, the K-12 program coordinator on the University of Georgia campus in Tifton. Part of the Young Scholars program, the workshop showed them how to find invasive species, why they are harmful and how to report them using the EDDMapS mapping system. On a field trip, the participants saw and collected information on invasive plants firsthand.

“My goal was to show them that invasive species are everywhere, even in their own backyard,” said Karan Rawlins, an invasive species coordinator with the UGA Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health. “They were shocked as we found over a dozen invasive plants including mimosa, Chinese wisteria, Japanese honeysuckle, Chinese tallowtree, Japanese climbing fern, wild taro, and Chinese privet in a small area on (the Tifton) campus.”

As the invasive species were found, the group took pictures of the plants and GPS coordinates to mark each plant. This information was later put into the EDDMapS.

To learn more about EDDMapS or to report an invasive species, go to the website

Erin Griffin is the outreach and communication coordinator with the University of Georgia Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.

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