Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Welcome to IPANE's new blog!

Hello IPANE enthusiasts! I know it hasn’t been much of a winter, but it is still refreshing to know that spring is just around the corner. I’m writing in a new format with lots of news about what’s current and what’s new for IPANE. Keep reading to find out what’s changed, what’s next, and what exciting opportunities are available. 

If any of you have checked out the website or data this year, you may have noticed that the website has been a bit static. That’s because we’re revamping the website, developing new on-line data entry methods, and developing an iPhone app for data entry in the field! These exciting advancing are being done in conjunction with our partnership with EDDMapS, the Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System. We hope to have the website (at least parts of it) up and running in April and I will keep you posted as that dream becomes reality. 

We’re also working on a new educational branch of IPANE. We have recently submitted a grant proposal that, if awarded, will fund iSpy-Invasives. This off-shoot of IPANE would use invasive plant species as a basis for scientific education. It specifically targets groups currently underserved by IPANE proper including school kids and urban centers. This is a collaborative effort which includes partners from UCONN School of Education, EDDMapS, Vital Signs of Maine, the Arnold Arboretum, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, and the Center for Invasive Plant Management (which focuses on invasives in the western U.S.). Our connection with the Conte Refuge also connects us with the Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (CISMA) partnerships of the watershed. The funding of full time staff through this grant would help revitalize IPANE while expanding with new opportunities and a national visibility. We’ll keep you posted as we get more information. Keep your fingers crossed that the funding pulls through. 

You may have noticed that we have a new“IPANE blog”. Any new posts will be immediately visible on the main page of the new website as well as notifying you if you follow the blog. We will use this tool to update you on IPANE events such as trainings and workshops while also posting related news items from the region and applicable research. We plan to post once a month with maybe a few more during the growing season if there are more workshops and events. We will also have a Google calendar on the main page to display regional events: conferences, workshops, trainings, lectures, pulling parties, etc. Please subscribe to the blog and forward to the blog to those you think might be interested. They can just read or sign up to be notified of new posts. 

We’re in the planning stages for a few trainings this spring. It looks like there will be at least one in Connecticut and the others are in the works. As we finalize schedules I will send out an announcement. This will be a great opportunity to refresh your identification skills as well as getting reacquainted with IPANE survey methods. 

If you need to reach us, we have a new gmail account for IPANE. This new email address will be easier for us to check from anywhere with a lot more storage. So, feel free to email your questions and comments to:
IPANE is still doing what it does best, documenting non-native invasive plant species of interest in the New England region. The data entry form and associated data are the same. This is important for long term data collection and monitoring. We hope that all this hard work will result in early detection of new and worsening invasions. 

Thanks and keep your eyes on the ground!

Sarah T. Bois
Interim program coordinator
Invasive Plant Atlas of New England