April 14, 2011

Across Kentucky and the country, there is a war going on against invading marauders. Every year, invasive plants cause $137 billion worth of economic loss in the United States. Anyone who has seen the kudzu invasion on roadsides and in the woods of Eastern and Southern Kentucky can understand the nature of the battle.

To help arm people against invasives, the 2nd Kentucky Invasive Species Conference and the 13th Annual Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council Conference will hold a joint meeting May 3 to 5 at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Lexington. The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture's Invasive Species Working Group and Department of Forestry, the UK Tracy Farmer Institute for Sustainability and the Environment, Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission, Kentucky Division of Forestry, Kentucky Exotic Pest Plant Council, and U.S. Forest Service are sponsoring the event.

The meeting will cover research, management, outreach, education and policy topics for the central and eastern regions of the country. Farmers as well as landowners with forestland, tree farms, wildlife habitat, lake or river frontage will find the meeting helpful in maintaining healthy land.

In addition to two days of breakout sessions, there are four field trip options for the final day of the conference.

  • Raven Run Nature Sanctuary-The program will examine several invasive removal sites, focusing particularly on bush honeysuckle, and demonstrations of removal methods. Participants should be prepared for two mile-long hikes over moderate terrain.
  • Natural Bridge State Park-The park has been working on its invasive species problems for more than a decade. This trip will examine their successes and failures. This tour will include a moderately strenuous hike to the top of Natural Bridge, 1.5 mile round trip.
  • University of Kentucky Maine Chance Research Farm and the Kentucky Horse Park-This tour will visit water quality protection and restoration sites in the Cane Run watershed. The field trip leader will discuss projects on the bus and participants will be able to leave the bus to look at the sites being discussed. There will be no extensive hiking on this trip.
  • Regional Early Detection and Rapid Response Train-the-Trainer workshop with Randy Westbrooks of the U.S. Geological Survey-The purpose of the workshop is to assist participants in drafting state EDRR work plans for further consideration by Exotic Pest Plant Council members and partners in each state.

The conference has been approved for pesticide applicator continuing education credits, dependent on the conference date attended: Tuesday, May 3, 4 general and 1 specific hour in categories 1A, 2, 10 and 12; Wednesday, May 4, 4 general and 2 specific hours in categories 1A, 2, 10 and 12; and Thursday, May 5, 2 general hours in categories 1A, 2, 10 and 12. The conference has also been approved for 12.5 credit hours of Continuing Forestry Education.

The last day to register for the conference is April 25. Register online at http://www.ca.uky.edu/invasives/Registration/index.html. For additional conference information, contact Laura Lhotka, 859-257-8718 or laura.lhotka@uky.edu.