In January 2021, a team of researchers and staff at Clarkson University’s Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries completed a year-long invasive species research project in Denning’s Point State Park in Beacon, NY.
The team was awarded a $20,000 grant in Spring 2020 to address a common problem on parks and preserves: invasive plants requiring strategic management to protect rare plants and important habitats. The project was contracted by the Lower Hudson Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (LHPRISM) with funds from the Environmental Protection Fund as administered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
For the first time in more than ten years, Denning’s Point Park was surveyed for invasive and rare native plants as a partnership between Clarkson’s Beacon Institute and Hudsonia, a non-profit environmental research institute. This project provided an update to a biological survey conducted by Hudsonia at Denning’s Point in 2008.
“Denning’s Point is located within Hudson Highlands State Park, so this project was a great opportunity to contribute to the preservation of a New York state park,” said Rebecca Rew, PRISM Project Associate and Outreach Associate for Beacon Institute. “By getting to know what flora or fauna inhabit an area, you can immediately benefit the ecosystem and yourself.”
Rew added that as a result of this project, she now regularly shares her knowledge and passion for the diversity of plants with the Beacon community through a variety of outreach activities.
Asher Pacht, the Director of Environmental Programs at the Beacon Institute, said the project funded a months-long research partnership with Hudsonia, Inc., additional hours for Rew, two part-time interns, educational materials, signage, as well as public training on the identification of invasive plants and an invasive insect, the Spotted Lanternfly.
Funding was also used for educational outreach purposes to purchase a boot brush cleaning station to be installed at the park’s trailhead this spring and for the creation of short plant identification training videos for the Clarkson’s Beacon Institute YouTube Channel.
“Early detection is key to management of invasives to prevent their spread and limit impacts to native ecologies,” Pacht said regarding managing for invasives. “This is work in which we will engage University and K-12 students, and the public for future invasive species research and activities.”
“This project has been a great opportunity to kickstart ongoing biological survey work by Clarkson's Beacon staff, engaging scientific partners, students and citizen scientists,” Pacht said. “It has boosted public messaging for our park-based campus, positively affecting not only Denning's Point but the Hudson Highlands and beyond.”
The Beacon campus team looks forward to continuing to educate and provide opportunities to the community for involvement in invasive species issues and solutions.
For more information on this project, the final report of completed outreach activities, plant survey results and a draft invasive species management plan for Denning's Point invasive species can be found here. For questions on this project or individuals interested in future opportunities, please email Rebecca Rew at firstname.lastname@example.org.