Vermont is fortunate to have many non-profit and state organizations working to address the threat invasive species pose to Vermont’s landscape, but knowing where to go for information just got easier with VTinvasives.org. Partners from VT Department of Environmental Conservation, VT Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation, and UVM Extension collaborated on a one-stop shop for invasive species across forest pests, terrestrial plants, and aquatic plants and animals.
Local governments, volunteers, and private property owners require information and tools to manage and slow the spread of established invasive species infestations and prevent new introductions. Research shows that 80% of the costs of invasive forest insects, for example, are borne by municipal governments and homeowners. Many organizations rely on volunteers to assist local communities in reducing the economic, social, and ecological impacts of invasive species.
VTinvasives.org is an integrated, statewide approach to invasive species education and outreach in order to increase local capacity and effectiveness for preventing, detecting, controlling, and managing priority invasive species in Vermont.
The website is ablaze with color photos and loaded with precise descriptions of the growing number of invasive species that threaten Vermont’s landscape. Divided into two sections, water-based invasive species and land-based invasive species, it contains photo galleries of 49 terrestrial plants, 17 forest pests and 10 aquatic invaders.
One of the site’s most important features is its “Report It” function, which allows citizen reporters to upload photos they’ve taken of potential invaders and send them directly to experts at the state.
Using our website analytics, we have had 2,700 users on the website since its launch 2 months ago. Approximately 70% are returning visitors, indicating people come back with more questions or desire to learn more.
Users reported the website as: “Great! Will save a lot of time in accessing information” and “The template you designed for each species works really well. The site has a nice, open feel to it. Information, while complete, is not crowded. I really like what you've done!”
While stopping the spread of invasive species can seem like a daunting challenge, there are a growing number of success stories and it all starts with sharing information and getting involved.