(Posted July 27, 2015)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Invasive plants -- trees, weeds, flowers and vines that crowd out other living and growing things -- are the focus of an academic conference, "Advances in Invasive Plant Science," held Aug. 4 and 5 at Juniata College's Ellis Hall ballroom.

The conference, organized by the Mid-Atlantic Invasive Plant Council, runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days. The conference is not open to the public, and requires attendees to register and pay a fee of $210 to participate in the conference. For more information please email Norris Muth, associate professor of biology, at muth@juniata.edu.

The conference opens at 9 a.m., Aug. 4 with a keynote lecture on "Invasive Plants are NOT for the Birds," by Johnny Randall, director of conservation programs at the North Carolina Botanical Garden at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. The lecture will cover how the rise in invasive species has lessened the availability of plants producing fleshy fruit, thus altering bird nutrition.

At 10:30 a.m., Lea Johnson, assistant professor of plant science at the University of Maryland, will speak on "Ecological Restoration of Invaded Urban Forests: What is Possible?" followed at 11 a.m. by the lecture "Using Research to Guide Invasive Plant Mangement Efforts in the Anacostia River, a River in the Nation's Capital," by Jorge Montero, natural resources specialist with the Anacostia Watershed Society.

At 11:30, Mark Frey, exotic plant management team liaison for the National Capital Region, will speak on "Prioritizing Early Detection Species in the National Capitol Region." At 1:15 p.m., Ben Prater, director of conservation for Wild South, will talk about "The Linville Gorge Wilderness: A Case Study in Adaptive Mangement."

At 1:45, Sara Keubbing, a postdoctoral fellow at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, speaks on "Managing Co-Invaded Forest Ecosystems: Lessons from Research on Co-occurring Invasive Woody Shrubs," followed at 2:15 by the lecture "Forming a Landowner-centric Cooperative Weed Management Area," by Rod Walker, a landowner in Albemarle County, Virginia.

At 3 p.m., Samantha Nestory, graduate research assistant at the University of Delaware, will give a talk on "Mechanical and Biological Control Methods for Japanese Stiltgrass." At 3:30, Kerrie Kyde, invasive plant ecologist with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, speaks on "Halt! Who Goes There? Maryland's Weed Risk Assessment Process."

The conference's second day, Aug. 5, begins at 9:45 a.m. with a presentation by Deborah Delaney, assistant professor of entomology at the University of Delaware, on "Sustaining Native Pollinators: Beyond the Butterfly Garden." At 10:30, Vanessa Beauchamp, associate professor of biology at Towson University, will talk about "The Ecology and Control of Wavyleaf Basketgrass."

The lecture "Hits and Misses: Managing Japanese Stiltgrass with Pre-emergence Herbicides," by Art Gover, research associate in Penn State's Department of Horticulture, will start at 11 a.m. Next, Norris Muth, associate professor of biology at Juniata, will lecture on "Source Materials for Ecological Restoration and the Role of Adaptation" at 11:30.

At 1 p.m. conference attendees will hike to the Baker-Henry Nature Preserve to observe one of the Mid-Atlantic Strike Teams from Invasive Plant Control Inc. demonstrate tools, methods and equipment used to combat some of the common invasive species in the Mid-Atlantic area.

Contact Gabe Welsch at welschg@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.