Michigan Sea Grant offering teacher training on invasive species at Lake St. Clair Metropark

Although school may be out for summer, teachers keep learning about Great Lakes issues to share in the classroom as they develop our future Great Lakes stewards.

Michigan Sea Grant, in partnership with the Huron-Clinton Metro Parks, Ducks Unlimited and MI DNR, is offering a free teacher training workshop focusing on Phragmites and other invasive species on June 23rd at Lake St. Clair Metropark.

Invasive non-native Phragmites australis is a perennial wetland plant that has quickly spread through Michigan marshes and wetland areas, robbing the fish, plants and wildlife of nutrients and space; blocking access to the water for swimming, fishing and other recreation endeavors; spoiling shoreline views; and posing a fire hazard. It can grow to be over 15 feet tall and crowds out other plants, creating monotypic dense stands of these invasive plants (often with over 20 stalks per square foot). It can spread through windblown seeds, soil transfer, animals or extensive over/under ground stems and rhizomes that will often re-sprout when broken. It is able to adjust its growing based on environmental conditions and can even survive in stagnant, oxygen poor or salty conditions. Recent management efforts along Lake St. Clair are improving habitat conditions in several marshes.

Come explore the marshes of Lake St. Clair Metropark to experience how invasive species management is transforming the landscape and discover how these southeast Michigan wetlands can become your outdoor classroom.

Who should participate? Both formal and informal teachers interested in science and natural resources are invited to participate in this free workshop.

Topics include:

  • What characteristics give invasive species a leg up on natives?
  • How do invasive species impact biodiversity?
  • What is being done to reduce invasive species?
  • How is invasive Phragmites managed in the park?
  • Sample activities for your outdoor classroom.

In addition to classroom presentations, this workshop will include a walking tour of nearby wetlands that have recently undergone invasive species management focusing on non-native Phargmites. This workshop will take place rain or shine, so please dress accordingly.

There is no cost to participants; however pre-registration by 4pm on June 20th is requested. To register, e-mail Mary Bohling with the names and phone numbers of those who wish to attend.

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