MOUNT DESERT — If you’re planning a garden party on Mount Desert Island, make sure the guest list doesn’t include red pine scale, glossy buckthorn or milfoil.
Those are among the invasive species that will be discussed at a public forum at Neighborhood House in Northeast Harbor next Saturday, June 16, from 1-3 p.m.
“We want to raise awareness about terrestrial and aquatic invasive species and help people around here — homeowners, landscapers, gardeners and anyone else who’s interested — find out what’s coming our way, what’s already here and what we can do about it,” said Billy Helprin, director of the Somes-Meynell Wildlife Sanctuary.
At the forum, he will talk primarily about aquatic invasive species such as milfoil and the courtesy boat inspections that are offered at Pond’s End on Long Pond.
“We try to educate boaters, particularly those who are coming from farther away, to make sure they’re checking their boats, trailers and gear for plant fragments that we don’t want to have come into our lakes,” Helprin said.
Jesse Hartson, land foreman with the Land & Garden Preserve, and Jesse Wheeler, exotic plant management program leader at Acadia National Park, will talk about invasive land plants and how the area’s larger land managers are dealing with them.
“About a quarter of the plant species in Acadia are non-native, but only a couple of dozen are really invasive and threaten our natural and cultural resources,” Wheeler said. “I’m going to talk mainly about the five species that take most of our time, thinking that these are the ones that are most widespread across the island.”
He noted that, while some invasive species can be difficult if not impossible to eliminate, their spread often can be controlled. He cited purple loosestrife as an example.
“It’s what kind of started our exotic species management program here at the park 30 years ago,” he said. “It’s been a relative success story.”
Colleen Teerling, a Maine Forest Service entomologist, will speak at the forum about invasive pests such as red pine scale, a tiny insect that has killed a large number of trees on Mount Desert Island.
Helprin said the goal of the forum isn’t to make everyone an expert on invasive species
“We’ll encourage people to be more aware, both on land and the water, of anything that looks different, that’s new to them, and then what to do,” he said. “We want to educate them about the resources here on the island and who to go to for help.”