For Immediate Release
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No Ordinary Day at the Beach: GCU Scientists Tackle Invasive Species

Georgian Court University Researcher Needs Volunteers for Asiatic Sand Sedge Removal

Lakewood, N.J., June 22, 2011—In an effort to dig out and eliminate invasive plants that threaten New Jersey's coastal areas, Georgian Court University scientists and environmental advocates are recruiting volunteers to help remove Asiatic sand sedge. The effort, which launched in mid-June, continues Saturday, June 25, and Saturday, July 9, from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. along the North Beach at Sandy Hook. In case of rain, the events move to Sunday.

Scientists from Georgian Court are collaborating with the National Park Service to determine the best way to remove this species.

“We are trying out different herbicides to see which works best with the least negative impact on the environment,” says Louise Wootton, Ph.D., professor of biology at Georgian Court. “We are also looking to see if digging it out manually using volunteers and shovels could be an effective way to deal with this plant.”

The upcoming clean-up and removal follows the group’s June 18 event when nearly two dozen high school students, graduate school researchers, and other volunteers began work on nine experimental plots, removing more than 50 sacks of the Asiatic sand sedge. The problematic plant life is one of the many invasive species that cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars each year. Other species—from stink bugs to kudzu to garlic mustard—also are an increasing problem in New Jersey and beyond.

The Asiatic sand sedge is rapidly spreading within coastal dunes throughout the Atlantic Northeast and out-competes native plant species for natural resources. The result: less food and habitat for native animals. The sedge can grow further down the beach than native dune grasses, ultimately displacing piping plovers, sea beach amaranth, and other threatened and endangered species. Increasingly, researchers and environmental managers are realizing that the sedge needs to be eliminated from coastal habitats.

Volunteers can sign up for the two sedge removal events on Facebook, where details about attire, work materials, and parking can also be found, at :

https://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=136858126390473

https://www.facebook.com/?sk=events&ap=1#!/event.php?eid=126220500792641

For more information, e-mail Dr. Louise Wootton at WoottonL@georgian.edu or call 732.920.3688.

Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is a comprehensive university with a strong liberal arts core and a special concern for women. A forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, Georgian Court serves nearly 3,000 students of all faiths and backgrounds in a residential Women's College and a coeducational University College with undergraduate and graduate programs. Georgian Court's main campus is located at 900 Lakewood Avenue, Lakewood, N.J., on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, now named a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court also offers classes at its site at One Woodbridge Center in Woodbridge, at Coastal Communiversity in Wall, and at Cumberland County College in Vineland.

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