With the summer recreation season fast approaching, collaborative efforts and partnerships to advance invasive species education, outreach and awareness are essential to keeping invasives out of our valued lands and waters. The Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP) relies upon its many partners and skillful team of staff to accomplish this. Each summer season, we are very fortunate to have the ability to hire a seasonal Invasive Species Educator whose main focus is to coordinate education and outreach efforts surrounding the invasive species threats that affect our region. This year’s seasonal educator will also be serving as our interim aquatic invasive species (AIS) liaison until the end of July while our AIS Project Coordinator, Erin Vennie-Vollrath, is out on maternity leave. Congratulations to Erin and APIPP’s newest partner!
We are excited to welcome Mitchell Jones as our seasonal Invasive Species Educator for the 2016 field season. Learn about Mitchell and what got him involved in the invasive species issue below.
I am currently a senior studying environmental science & policy at Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York. Through collegiate studies, my passion for the outdoors, and a lifelong love for the Adirondacks, I have developed an interest in invasive species.
Some of my earliest introductions to invasive species came through my passion for fishing. As a member of the Good Ole Boys Jr. Bass Fishing Club in Central Square, NY, I was introduced to the aquatic invasive plant, water chestnut. After seeing firsthand some of the devastation it causes to natural ecosystems, it sparked my interest in water resource protection. Another event in my life that focused my interest on invasive species was while participating in Clarkson University’s Adirondack Semester. During the semester students live in and learn about the Adirondacks in Saranac Lake. The goal is to experience the Adirondack Park as a place where people, policy, and the environment come together. During the semester, my class attended a presentation provided by APIPP’s AIS Project Coordinator, Erin Vennie-Vollrath. Little did I know that I would be working for APIPP just two years later. Influenced by my time living in and exploring the Adirondack’s, I decided I wanted to begin working to protect the Park’s ecosystems. Last summer my dream became reality when I became a boat launch steward for Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute. Much of my time was spent inspecting boats, educating boaters, and protecting the Tupper Lake region from the spread of AIS. Although I originate from Brewerton, NY, I have family ties to the Tupper Lake area so I felt a certain sense of ownership and purpose while working to protect the area from AIS.
This summer, my responsibilities with APIPP range from leading education and outreach efforts and serving as a community outreach liaison to assist with training and event promotion. One of the biggest responsibilities of my position will be coordination of Adirondack Invasive Species Awareness Week, which falls the week of July 10th. Since early May, I have been participating in trainings, developing relationships with partner organizations, attending events such as Essex County’s Environmental Field Day, and furthering my knowledge of Adirondack invasive species spread prevention efforts.
I will also be helping to coordinate and implement various trainings and events surrounding invasive species prevention, surveillance and management along with the rest of APIPP’s staff over the course of the summer. If you are interested in participating in any of these events or would like to partner with me to hold one of your own visit APIPP’s event calendar at http://adkinvasives.com/calendar/, or reach out to me directly at [email protected] or (518) 576-2082 ext. 120.
After my summer with APIPP I plan to complete my bachelor of science at Clarkson University and become a year round resident in the Adirondack’s. The passion I have for this area has helped me set a personal goal of finding a career that will allow me to protect the Adirondack’s natural ecosystems. I wish to give back to the place that has already given me so much.