TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI)- Invasive species are often times hard to recognize, and to the untrained eye they most likely won't stand out. The Tippecanoe Invasive Cooperative Taskforce, otherwise known as TICT, is working to educate people about the issue.
"Most of the time people just don't know what's invasive,” said Bryce Patz who is on the steering committee of TICT. “They just see something that's pretty from maybe a box store where they plant material and that just adds to the invasive species that are in our area."
Callery Pear, Burning Bush, Garlic Mustard, and Japanese stiltgrass are just a few of the many invasive species that are prevalent in Tippecanoe County. They can wreak havoc on the ecosystem if they become overgrown. What they can do to an endangered species is even worse.
"If you have invasive plants take over it can disrupt the native plant's habitat and it can lead to extinction," said Angie Miller the President of TICT.
That’s why several local environmental agencies have come together to establish the task force. They hope education can help people recognize problem invasive species.
"Our mission is to prevent control and reduce invasive species here in Tippecanoe County,” added Miller. “We hope to do that through education and action."
While education is key to tackling the growing problem, reminding people that they can help by planting native species is also a vital key.
"The analogy I like to use with invasive species that it's really like cancer on the landscape,” said Miller. “These species spread aggressively they out-compete native species, they just sort of disrupt the whole function of the system as a whole. If you don't address it they are just going to keep getting worse."
The Taskforce is hosting an invasive species field day on September 21st at Horticulture Park, where they will demonstrate how to remove invasive species. They will also provide examples of native alternatives that can replace them. For more information on that event, you can visit TICT’s, Facebook Page. If you would like more information on invasive species, you can find that information by visiting the Indiana Invasive Species Council’s website.