Aliens in Winter – Invasive Plant ID Workshop
March 13 @ 10:00 am - 11:30 am
We are a few weeks from official “spring,” with plants still dormant. As we eagerly await the first mayflowers and ephemerals, many of us know a threat is afoot in our forests and fields.
While quite a few non-native, aggressive plants have invaded Maine, the most common bad actors number about a dozen. These plants compromise the ecological health and quality of our natural spaces and it’s worth getting to know who they are.
There is opportunity afoot! Winter is a wonderful time to learn about these invasive plants. Indeed, you can learn to recognize the growth form, colors, and locations of these plants fairly easily. Following this walk, you will be ready to confidently identify key invasive plants and thus able to begin eradicating them at the appropriate time later in the year.
We will walk a short distance down a trail along the Androscoggin River that hosts many examples of invasive plants. Our guide, Raija Suomela will point out key characteristics of each plant and share her passion for learning about the natural world. Registration limited to nine people and masks will be required. Rain date: Mar. 20.
Raija Suomela grew up in Topsham and returned to her childhood home in 2016 where she is delighted to eat blueberries from the same bushes she knew as a child. She became familiar with the devastating impact of invasive plants on the quality of preserved land in the Philadelphia suburbs. She witnessed the significant degradation of those spaces, ecologically and recreationally, due to rampant invasive plant growth.
She swapped a serious bike riding hobby for a serious ‘lopping and pulling’ hobby, learning invasive removal and landscape restoration methods. She has honed her skills through many hours of manual work, study, and conversation with thought-leaders in the Mid Atlantic and New England regions.
Raija is a passionate volunteer and committed community member, serving on the Topsham Conservation Commission and town Comprehensive Plan Implementation Committee, and volunteering for Maine Audubon and other local land trust and conservation organizations.