Invasive plants pose one of the greatest threats to biodiversity in the Midwest, taking over natural areas and crowding out native species. The Midwest Invasive Plant Network (MIPN) was organized in 2002 to bring attention to the invasive plant problem and pool resources and knowledge of those working to reduce the threat from invasive plants.
Kate Howe, coordinator for MIPN explains, “Our goal is to improve prevention, early detection and rapid response, control and management, education, and research on invasive plants in the Midwest.” The Network provides leadership for cooperative efforts, helps facilitate information exchange, and coordinates regional efforts with a broad network of partners across the region.
Currently MIPN has a listserv and website to improve communication about invasive plants and related issues in the Midwest, a database of educational materials to improve access to information, data standards for invasive plant mapping and inventory, and a compilation of information on invasive plant research conducted in the Midwest. The Network also publishes regional educational materials on invasive plants, engages in discussions with the horticultural industry to encourage voluntary reduction in the sale of invasive species, and develops training workshops on the creation of Cooperative Weed Management Areas.
The Nature Conservancy, U.S. Forest Service and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) played a major role in the establishment of this network, which is now hosted by Purdue University. Other partners and groups that contribute in-kind services or funding include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, DNRs in Iowa, Illinois, and Minnesota, The Stewardship Network, Federal Highway Administration, Chicago Botanic Garden, Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a number of other federal, state, local and private groups. The Network is guided by a Board of Directors.
To learn more about MIPN or to become involved with the organization, contact Kate Howe firstname.lastname@example.org or view MIPN’s Strategic Plan.