Taking a stand on the invaders

Invasive plant species are no longer welcome at UVM, according to the Student Government Association. The SGA passed a resolution to “phase out” invasive species on campus in an effort to protect native species on Nov. 30. “These invasive species threaten Vermont economically and ecologically,” SGA Senator Joshua Benes, who introduced the resolution, said. “Something needs to be done.” No new invasive species should be planted on campus, and ones that are already here should be replaced with native species when the funds become available, according to the resolution. “If you walk though Centennial Woods, it is covered with Norway Maple,” Benes said. “You have to look high [and] low for any Sugar Maples that are left. What would Vermont be without Sugar Maples?” The Wise on Weeds (WOW) initiative is a program from The Nature Conservatory and is part of what prompted the resolution, Benes said. “A call to action for Vermonters by The Nature Conservatory of Vermont to restore Vermont’s native habitats by keeping invasive plants out of gardens and backyards,” The Nature Conservatory’s website states. Senior environmental science major Emily Gardiner said that she fully supports the resolution. “We pride ourselves on being a green Vermont university, so it only makes sense that we allow native Vermont species to thrive on our campus,” Gardiner said. This resolution has been in the making for the past month and a half, but Benes said it has been on his mind for a while. “How can UVM turn its back to this slow takeover on campus?” Benes said. Senior business major Jessa Donnelly said that she has some concerns about the resolution. “I really love the landscaping around campus and hope this resolution won’t change it too much,” Donnelly said. Five other senators co-sponsored the resolution, Benes said. “I am very against having non-native, invasive species on our campus,” Gardiner said. “They don’t represent Vermont and can be very ecologically destructive.”