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Maine Invasive Species Network 5th Annual Meeting Agenda, Minutes and Attendees

(Scroll down for minutes and for list of attendees)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The  Bank of Maine Ice Vault, Hallowell, Maine

MISN 5th Annual Meeting Agenda

(8:00 – 8:30 am) Registration; morning refreshments

(8:30 – 8:40) Welcome

(8:40 – 8:50) Invasive Species in Maine: What Comes Next?

(8:50 – 10:40) State of the State Roundtable by Taxa
Forest Pests: Allison Kanoti, MFS Forest Health Division
Aquatic Plants: Roberta Hill, Maine Volunteer Lakes Monitoring Program
Agricultural Pests: Andrei Alyokhin, UMaine Applied Entomology Laboratory
Marine Invasives: Beth Bisson, Maine Sea Grant; Maine Marine Invasive Species Collaborative
Terrestrial Plants: Ann Gibbs, Maine Dept. of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry

(10:40 – 11:00) Break

(11:00 – 12:00) Concurrent Session #1 (choose A or B)
A: Preparing for Emerald Ash Borer
B: Successful Volunteer Engagement

(12:00 – 1:00) Lunch (provided)

(1:00 – 2:00) MISN Taking Action: An Interactive Breakout Session

(2:00 – 2:15) Break (refreshments provided)

(2:15 – 3:15) Concurrent Session #2 (choose A or B)
A: The “Big Picture” of Invasive Plant Management
B: “Beyond the Choir”: Translating Awareness into Behavioral Change

(3:15 – 3:30) Wrap-up


 Thanks to our generous sponsors:


NOAA extensionlogo MCP_logo
FBElogo-April10 (3) StantecTRC





MISN 5th Annual Meeting Minutes

Small groups formed to discuss these important topics:

1-Within MISN Education/Knowledge Sharing

2-Invasive Terrestrial/Wetland Plant Working Group

3-MISN Website Information Sharing

4-Successful Volunteer Engagement

5-Translating Awareness Into Behavioral Change

6-The Big Picture of Invasive Plant Management

Notes from each of these small group discussions are below.

Small group #1: Within MISN Education/Knowledge Sharing


Team members:

Amanda Mahaffey, Amanda Devine, Dan Grenier, Tim Bickford, Ron Lemin, Allison Kanoti, Colleen Teerling


Goal #1:

Have MISN serve as a statewide clearinghouse for all invasive species-related trainings and events happening in Maine:

1. Assess MISN website capacity- Lois- due sometime in April (did not set date but will follow up).

2. Develop system for showcasing events (online calendar or even a chronological list) -Lois, with help from CoopExt IT.

3. Inform trainers/organizers that they should let MISN know about upcoming events.

3.i. Create and edit outreach blurb – Amanda D- by 4/1, with group input for editing.

3.ii. Distribute blurb through MISN and other listservs and email lists (MLTN, SWOAM, MFS, BPC, SAF, VLMP, MAWS, etc.)- ALL


Goal #2:

Have a MISN 2016 Annual Meeting during Nat. Invasive Species Awareness Week.

  1. Create how-to guide -Amanda Mahaffey, Amanda Devine, Nancy Olmstead – May 1
  2. Poll MISN members and 2015 meeting attendees for volunteers- Lois- summer2015.
  3. Meet with those who offer to help plan; hand off how-to” and all templates.


Side note:

The group thought a talk on invasion biology from Dr. Alyokhin would be an excellent addition, and that this meeting could serve as a good time for attendees to discuss training needs for the year ahead.


Other notes written down for “MISN Workshops/Annual Meeting”:

Solicit list of desired topics.

Virtual meetings.

Field sessions (in Augusta, at Viles Arboretum).

Address theoretical aspects of biological invasions.

Contact individuals/groups BEFORE meetings/workshops; plan to meet and talk during and after.

Field trips to active control sites.



Small group #2: Invasive Terrestrial/Wetland Plant Working Group

A group of about 30 people explored the idea of a MISN working group focused on terrestrial and wetland invasive plants. While a working group did not seem necessary at this time (thus no action statement was developed), several specific ideas were suggested and follow-up was taken on by those most interested.

Ideas included:

1-A central “clearinghouse” or “gateway” website for Maine invasive species, either as a page on the MISN website or as a separate URL (this is being followed up by a subgroup and discussion is ongoing).

2-A way to regularly share news and stories, similar to a newsletter (this was fulfilled by another Taking Action group in the form of brief monthly articles to be posted on the MISN site.

3-The need for a calendar for posting events, trainings, work days (Lois Stack is following up to see if this is possible on the MISN site and The Stewardship Network New England is another potential resource for this).


Small group #3: MISN Website Information Sharing


Team members:

Cheri Brunault, Ann Gibbs, Ellie Groden, Rich Jordan, Emily Norton, Ellen Snyder, Lois Berg Stack, Lorraine Taft, Jesse Wheeler


Action statement:

We will reinvigorate the MISN website with enhanced links and a Facebook page, to promote knowledge sharing within MISN.



1: Facebook page.

Emily and Cheri will develop a Facebook page for MISN. Lois will link it to the MISN website.

Deadline: 1 April 2015


2: Calendar.

Lois will investigate the mechanics/rules/guidelines for setting up a calendar on the MISN website. Events of MISN and its members will be eligible for posting.

Deadline: 30 April 2015


3: Monthly articles posted on MISN.

Brief monthly articles will be posted on the MISN website. Articles will cover topics such as invasive plant workdays, with quotes and photos; reviews of pertinent articles; book reviews; updates on invasive species; other topics.

2015 schedule:

April: 2015 MISN annual meeting summary (Lois)

May: 4-way position sharing (Cheri)

June: beetle emergence (Lorraine)

July: European red ants (Ellie)

August: topic to be determined (Jesse)

September: topic to be determined (Rich)

October: topic to be determined (Ann)

November: Stewardship Network (Ellen)

Deadlines: authors will submit articles to Lois by the week before the listed month.


4: Additional ideas generated by group:

The group discussed other actions to improve MISN member interactions, including:

Share research/gray literature through the listserv

Establish focused groups within MISN, to focus on topics such as volunteer management, education networks, terrestrial invasive plant management.

Develop webpage with comprehensive list of contacts.

Develop webpage with list of invasive management groups.

Deadline: these future ideas will become reality as the need arises and as volunteers offer their work/expertise.



Small group  #4: Successful Volunteer Engagement


Why do people volunteer?

It’s fun.

It’s meaningful.

They experience the visual impact of their work (it’s satisfying).

People volunteer for people, not just projects (i.e., personal relationships) People also volunteer for their community.

Events are well-organized (it’s easy).

It’s a learning opportunity.

Out of love (for something threatened).

Out of fear (because of the threat).


Volunteer recruitment: what works?

Proximity- people see the project or people working on it.

Use other volunteers to do the recruiting,

Make it easy for people to learn about how they can help (QR code on a sign).

Persistence- sometimes it takes a while for a critical mass to form.

Create community- give people something to identify with.

If the ultimate message isn’t compelling, bait and switch – for instance, focus on monarch butterflies instead of black swallow-wort.

Seek partner organizations who can help.

Find ways to make it worth potential volunteers’ while – for instance, advertise graduation requirements.

Find ways to connect with schools and other groups on their schedule.

Try to meet multiple goals with volunteers- for instance, getting work that you need done, while providing an opportunity for them to get something they need done.


Volunteer retention: what works?

Have a clear purpose to what you’re doing.

Provide context.

Share results with volunteers.

Find the right balance with communication – some volunteers want to hear from you all the time, others not so much.

Find ways to engage volunteers in the off-season.

Celebrate volunteers – offer recognition, highlights, and of course, gratitude.


Ask for and implement feedback from volunteers.

Give volunteers an opportunity to keep learning and developing.

Use social media.

Delegate -volunteers appreciate meaningful tasks.

Be mindful of burnout- asking people to do a repetitive task for 12 hours isn’t going to help.

Offer regularly-scheduled events where people can just drop in and tackle a task.

Encourage social aspects.


How to make using volunteers worth YOUR time:

Know when to say “no”.

Have work lined up for lots of different types of volunteers.

Have work lined up that is self-directing.

Automate process whenever you can.

Don’t be afraid to share volunteers with other groups.

Reframe: think of using volunteers as an end in and of itself, even if it’s sometimes less efficient.

Engage your best volunteers to lead other volunteers.

Consider using interns to manage volunteers.

Don’t forget, volunteer time can be used as match for certain grants.



Small group #5: Translating Awareness Into Behavioral Change


To get people to change their behaviors, it has to be about them:

It has to be about “me”.

What’s keeping “me” from doing the right thing?

Find something that matters immediately to people (for instance, the public health risk posed by ticks).

Meet people where they are.

Get through to kids (who in turn influence their parents).

Monetize/incentivize good behavior.


Know your audience:

Identify what they care about.

Poll your audience to find out what they already know.

Tailor your message AND its delivery method to specific audiences.

Make the core issue about something that isn’t controversial.

Make the link between cause and effect clear.


Keep messaging positive:

Provide an alternative to “NO”.

Thank people for doing the right thing.

Include a social aspect.

Be respectful and courteous.

Incentivize in a way that’s intrinsically valuable to people (as opposed to trinkets and cheap tote bags).

Make it fun.

People respond to passion- show yours!


Change can take time:

Be persistent.

Be patient- we have already made progress.

Refresh the message.

Education does work- for instance, post signs where invasive plant control work is taking place.

Replicate efforts that are working elsewhere.

Resources are important! Things like bumper.stickers can help.


Operate at the right sphere of influence:

Influence is most effective at the community level (where a community could be geographic, economic, etc).

Peer pressure works – people want to be part of a bigger group (for example, if 15°/o of lakefront homeowners tackle erosion control and runoff issues, others will


Instead of trying to reach beyond the choir, identify a choir that’s already big enough.

Grassroots is more successful than top-down.


Also check out community based social marketing at



Small group #6: The Big Picture of Invasive Plant Management


While much of invasive plant management is site-specific, there are parts of management which involve strategic thinking.

A10-step invasive plant management framework was presented, and steps which engage the “big picture” were highlighted in more depth. The framework includes:

  1. Prevention (vectors and pathways, changing practices).
  2. Early detection and rapid response (including collaboration).
  3. Set goals/make a plan (focus on what you want to protect, do inventory/mapping to assess your situation, evaluate your resources available).
  4. Eradicate new species (to the site/area).
  5. Exclude plants from high-value areas.
  6. -7. (*as resources allow or as your goals require): contain larger patches, suppress bad infestations.
  1. Share knowledge, collaborate, monitor.
  2. Don’t forget compounding stressors (climate change, overbrowsing, earthworms, forest insect pests, landscape fragmentation).
  3. Learn to live with invasive plants we cannot control (consider shifting goals from “restoration” to a novel system that still provides ecosystem benefits, including biodiversity).


MISN 5th Annual Meeting Attendees

First name Last name Organization
Andrei Alyokhin University of Maine
Molly Auclair Gulf of Maine Research Institute
Elissa Ballman University of Maine
Tim Bickford Maine Army National Guard
Bob Bittenbender Oceanside Conservation Trust Casco Bay, Maine Audubon, Casco Bay Invasive Species Network
Denise Blanchette Maine DEP
Benjamin Breger Bates College/Cliff Island
David Brenneman Boyle Associates
Cheri Brunault Kennebec Estuary Land Trust
Tom Carr MITA / MCHT volunteer
Caroline Casals Gulf of Maine Research Institute
Karen Coluzzi Maine Dept. of ACF
John Cullen Topsham Tree Commitee
Amanda Devine Maine Coast Heritage Trust
Molly Docherty Maine Natural Areas Program
Bryan Emerson Stantec
Alex Fetgatter National Park Service – Acadia NP
Gary Fish Maine Board of Pesticides Control
Ann Gibbs Maine Dept. of ACF
Paul Gregory Maine DEP
Daniel Grenier The Nature Conservancy
Joan Griswold Marginal Way Committee, Ogunquit
Peter Griswold Marginal Way Committee, Ogunquit
Ellie Groden University of Maine
Roberta Hill Volunteer Lakes Monitoring Program
Maria Jenness Maine Island Trail Association
Rich Jordan TRC/MAWS
Allison Kanoti Maine Forest Service
Sharon Kinsman Bates College
Erika Latty Unity College
Ronald Lemin CPS Timberland
Erin Love Casco Bay Estuary Partnership
Amanda Mahaffey Forest Guild
Suzanne McGinn Cape Elizabeth Land Trust & Fort Williams Advisory Commission
Douglas McMullin Maine Coast Heritage Trust
John McPhedran Maine DEP
Jeremy Miller Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve
Kathy Murray Maine Dept. of ACF
Kate O’Brien U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Nancy Olmstead Maine Natural Areas Program
Toni Pied Belgrade Regional Conservation Alliance
Kristen Puryear Maine Natural Areas Program
David Rocque Maine Dept. of ACF
Kyle Rosenberg Forest to Shore
Kevin Ryan FB Environmental
Hillary S. Schultz Viles Arboretum
Karrie Schwaab U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Camilla Seirup National Park Service – Acadia NP
Nancy Sferra The Nature Conservancy
Bob Shafto Town of Falmouth
Ellen Snyder UNH Cooperative Extension
Lois Stack University of Maine Cooperative Extension
Lauren Stockwell Stockwell Environmental Consulting, Inc
Judy Stone Colby College
Lorraine Taft Maine Dept. of ACF
Colleen Teering Maine Forest Service
Thomas Tetreau Stantec
David Tibbetts U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Rachel Carson NWR
Jesse Wheeler National Park Service – Acadia NP



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