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Local CISMA makes plans for the new year



Locals gathered for the end of the year Sullivan County Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area meeting on Monday. The group formed in October and now has around 20 members who are actively involved. Here they are sharing ideas and making plans to help educate the county about invasive plant species.

The Sullivan County Soil and Water Conservation District decided in April to start the idea of creating a CISMA, or Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area, in the county.

Now several months later, a Sullivan County CISMA was formed in October and it now holds around 20 members.

Allison McKain, the district coordinator for the Sullivan County Soil and Water Conservation District, was a big part of the creation and foundation of this group, along with the help of Amber Slaughterbeck, the regional specialist with Southern Indiana Cooperative Invasives Management.

“This has been a long process in the making,” McKain said. “It is encouraging to see we have people interested in educating and eradicating invasive species.”

A main goal for the group is to educate the public about invasive plant species and how they can replace them with native species.

In this final meeting of the year, the members discussed ways to branch out and reach more people in the community.

“We got to hear from the group what they would like to see happen in the county,” Slaughterbeck said.

Some of the members in attendance feel that invasive species are out of control and they hope with this new group they can help the community.

“Invasive are taking everything over,” Bill Spurlin, a Sullivan man who lives near Greene-Sullivan State Forest, said.

Spurlin and others in the group realize that many do not know what invasive plant species are and the effects they have on the community. He hopes this group can help fix that problem.

“Education is the biggest thing,” Spurlin said. “People don’t realize what they have done to the state and the country.”

For those interested in learning more or joining the CISMA, they can attend the next meeting on Jan. 7 at 6 p.m. at the Sullivan County Purdue Extension Office.


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