A Panel on Invasive Species Success Stories from the Field

" Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." (Margaret Mead) A Panel on Invasive Species Success Stories from the Field (BEG)
Linda Walsh Lapinski, Emily Cord DuThinh, Oakland Phragmites and Invasive Species Task Force;
Carol Eberhardt, The City of the Village of Clarkston; Mary Reed, Lake Watershed Forever Council;
Cindy Ricksgers, Beaver Island, MI; Robert Williams, Stewart Farm

A panel of grassroots and professional individuals from all corners of Michigan will share their success stories about eradicating the invasive, non-native plant Phragmites from their community's wetlands, shorelines and roadways through determination and resilience despite the odds against them. By reclaiming their wetlands from Phragmites and other invasive plants, one property and one area at a time, they have positively impacted both the human and natural communities.

Linda Walsh Lapinski, Oakland Phragmites and Invasive Species Task Force
Linda is a graduate of The University of Michigan, BFA. She is a wife, mother and grandmother who has worked educating homeowners, township boards and garden clubs about the threat of Phragmites and other invasive species that are threatening Michigan's wetlands, roads and waterways. She is an advanced master composter. In 2012, she cofounded Oakland Phragmites & Invasive Species (OPIS) Task Force with Emily DuThinh. She currently serves on the board as president. She is a member of Wild Ones' North Oakland Chapter and North Oakland Headwaters Land Conservancy. In April 2014, OPIS was awarded the Johanna Roskopp Award by the Clinton River Watershed Council for recent outstanding contributions to protecting, enhancing and celebrating the Clinton River, its watershed and Lake St. Clair. Linda is a blogger with the Oakland Press; her blog can be found at www.troubleinnativeparadise.com.

Emily Cord DuThinh, Oakland Phragmites and Invasive Species Task Force
Emily earned a master's degree from Duke University, and a bachelor's degree in geology from Franklin & Marshall College. She has been a conservation steward since 2011. Emily co-founded the Oakland Phragmites and Invasive Species (OPIS) Task Force with Linda Lapinski in 2012. OPIS is a group of concerned citizens working to protect the quality of Oakland County's lakes, streams and wetlands with a goal of preserving them for future generations free from non-native invasive species like Phragmites. Emily serves on OPIS's board of directors. She is also on the board of directors of the North Oakland Headwaters Land Conservancy as well as serving on their Stewardship Committee. She is a certified professional geologist with eighteen years of experience in environmental consulting, remediating contaminated soil and groundwater. She has taught students of all ages and abilities about environmental science, natural resource management and other subjects. She is teaching a course in environmental law and policy at Wayne State University.

Carol Eberhardt, City of the Village of Clarkston
Carol is the city manager of a small city in Oakland County. The invasion of Phragmites on city owned property was first brought to her attention as a member of the city council. A local group made a presentation at a council meeting regarding Phragmites and its impact on our wetlands. After the group made their presentation it became clear to Carol that this problem needed to be tackled immediately. Perhaps more importantly, Carol also realized the city needed to set an example so private citizens would understand the seriousness of this problem. The city committed to a two-year plan, allocating the funds to ensure this would happen. When Carol moved to the city manager position she ensured the council's plans were carried out which has resulted in a large wetland area that has been brought back to life.

Mary Reed, Portage Lake Watershed Forever
Mary has worked on the identification and control of aquatic, terrestrial and other invasive species plants since 2008. She serves as chair of the Portage Lake Watershed Forever Council, the Water Monitoring and Environmental Committee and is chair of the Onekama Township Invasive Species Committee. She is an active member of the Portage Lake Garden Club and Plant It Wild. Phragmites was the first invasive threat identified and information was presented to the Portage Lake Garden Club. She works with committees and the community to coordinate surveying, treatment, monitoring, education and financing to control invasive species within the Onekama Township and the Portage Lake watershed. Mary graduated from the University of Michigan with a BS in pharmacy and from Aquinas Collage with a Masters in Management.

Cindy Ricksgers, Beaver Island, MI
Cindy Ricksgers took the position of Phragmites administrator on Beaver Island after much of the groundwork for their program was already in place. In addition to paperwork, Cindy keeps information flowing between the two townships of Beaver Island, assisting organizations and the island residents. She provides regular updates to local news sources and has started an informational blog on Phragmites management. Cindy received an MFA from Michigan State University. She is a visual artist and a writer. More than twenty years of working on Beaver Island in a customer service capacity has made Cindy recognizable, with a reputation for being hard-working, trustworthy and "ready-to-help." That reputation has been her greatest asset in dealing with the intricacies of environmental stewardship and small town politics.

Robert Williams, Stewart Farm
Bob has been successful at controlling Phragmites in his restoration of a lake plain prairie at Stewart Farm, Harsens Island, MI. He is an MSU Extension service volunteer and the founder and webmaster of www.Phragmites.org and www.Phragmites.info . On this topic, Bob has presented dozens of public workshops and in-field trainings.