Those of us who live and vacation in Harpswell agree we are fortunate to be in such a beautiful place: the peaceful views, the hiking trails, the water access, the outdoor fun. But there are barriers to maintaining that beauty. Among them is the proliferation of invasive plants.
Invasive plants come to us from other countries or regions. Without natural controls from their native habitats, they spread quickly and reduce the resources available for native birds and animals. Birds, for example, need caterpillars to feed their young. But often, invasive plants do not host these caterpillars, so the birds go hungry.
Invasives even impinge on the recreational spaces we love for walking, birding or hiking. Hiking through a mass of invasive vines can be impossible.
Invasive plants are harmful to agriculture and even human health. Farmland cannot be used for grazing if it is infected with certain invasive plants. Invasive plants affect forest regeneration by creating shade where sun is needed, while hogging nutrients in the soil that native plants need for growth.
Have you noticed invasive plants that prevent you from enjoying nature? The Harpswell Invasive Plant Partnership is sponsoring an arts contest called “Stop the Spread!” as a way for adults and kids to have fun and be creative while learning more about invasive plants. Here’s your chance to help spread the word through art!
Worried that you don’t know enough about invasive plants? Go to hippmaine.org and click on “resources,” then on “find your invasive plant.”
There are many ways to use your artistic skills to raise awareness of invasive plants. For example, you can write about them, take a photograph, or draw or paint a picture to show the harm they cause to the environment.
There is no need for prior experience in any of these areas. This is an opportunity to do it your way and help make a difference for the future of our wonderful community. You can even make this an educational and fun family project!
There will be prizes for adults and kids. The winning entries will be posted on the HIPP website and may be published in the Harpswell Anchor. The deadline for entries is Sept. 30. Submit entries to email@example.com.
In 2022, HIPP volunteers removed invasive plants in 10 locations, logging 338 volunteer hours to help ensure Harpswell’s land stays beautiful and healthy for generations into the future. For more information or to volunteer, go to hippmaine.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.