Long Point Phragmites Action Alliance Receives Funding for Educational Signage
November 16, 2016
LONG POINT, ONTARIO – The Long Point Biosphere Reserve Foundation is excited to announce the unveiling of new educational signage at Long Point, presented by the Long Point Phragmites Action Alliance thanks to funding received from TD Friends of the Environment Foundation.
“As volunteer Co-chairs of the Long Point Phragmites Action Alliance (LPPAA), we were delighted to have the support of TD Friends of the Environment Foundation through the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve Foundation (LPWBRF). The signage and brochures produced with the funds provided by TD FEF are critical steps to enhance our efforts of “making change” in regards to the top identified local ecosystem stressor – invasive European Common Reed (Phragmites australis). Raising awareness about the negative impacts that this invasive plant is having on our environment is one of the most important aspects of bringing together 25 organizations that now make up our Alliance. The public is generally unaware of the threats Phragmites currently poses to biodiversity, species at risk and ecosystem health as well as to local economies, lakeshore property values, lost lake views and human safety. Phragmites, from a non-ecological standpoint has sometimes been viewed as “a pretty plant” for decoration or a backyard garden – but this plant reduces biodiversity, eco-system health, and threatens local habitat sustainability. Explaining the threat that this plant poses is imperative for stopping further human distribution and garnering support for much needed control efforts. The brochures are to be shared with local landowners and placed at locations frequented by tourists, and the informative signs will be posted in strategic locations throughout the region. These products can also be shared with other communities to further increase awareness and efficiencies through shared resources.”
-Janice Gilbert and Eric Gunnell, LPPAA Co-chairs
“It has been rewarding to not only watch this group develop, but to also be a part of the collective impact and collaboration of the Long Point Phragmites Action Alliance. The signage that has been produced thanks to funding from the TD FEF Grant will no doubt continue to be a beacon of hope amidst the negative outlook Phragmites australis presents to nature and wildlife enthusiasts. Undoubtedly, the more public this ecological issue becomes, with the help of educational materials such as these public signs and brochures, the more action the LPPAA and other communities, even reaching outside of the Long Point Biosphere and Norfolk County areas, will start to see. These signs are a call to attention, and a call to action. The signs and brochures are installed and distributed in an incredible tourist hot spot. Although measuring the success and reach of these materials is difficult, we look forward to having more people visit the LPPAA website and start conversations with their local conservation groups on how to address the invasion of this plant. These signs and brochures will help increase the awareness of the plant that is taking over roadside ditches, on agricultural lands, and spreading across our beautiful beaches and marshes. Once people are aware of what Phragmites is, they won’t be able to ignore that it is everywhere – and action will follow when people begin to spread the word.”
-Linda Warren, Community Conservation Project Manager – Long Point World Biosphere Reserve
The main sign, located with in the Long Point Crown Marsh north of Erie Boulevard at Winston Parkway, showcases a “before” photo with information on the Phragmites australis control demonstration project conducted in the Long Point Area and member organizations of the Long Point Phragmites Action Alliance. This area is currently being studied and monitored by students from University of Waterloo.
This educational sign can be found at the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry lookout along the Causeway, just north of the marinas.
Article courtesy of the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve Foundation’s Beacon Newsletter; photos provided by Linda Warren, LPWBRF.