UF/IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants

Originally formed as the Center for Aquatic Weeds, the UF/IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants (CAIP) is a multidisciplinary research, teaching and extension unit established in 1987 by the Florida legislature. CAIP uses expertise from many departments within UF/IFAS and its Agricultural Research and Education Centers throughout Florida. Furthermore, CAIP faculty and staff are made up of several different disciplines including agronomy, botany, fisheries, and plant pathology, just to name a few. CAIP is a team of scientists and support staff working to turn science into solutions.

The UF/IFAS CAIP Mission

Above all, the mission of CAIP is to develop and disseminate strategies for addressing the impact of invasive plants. The vision for the center is to be the leading voice for invasive plant research and education in Florida and beyond. Moreover, research conducted by CAIP faculty includes management techniques, aquatic and terrestrial invasive plant research and so much more. Consequently, CAIP faculty and staff work to educate stakeholders about aquatic and invasive plants and their interactions with the environment through extension programing, new technology and formal education. For example, the CAIP website turns science into solutions by offering Invasive Plant Management Plans. CAIP also offers plant identification tools such as videos, recognition cards and one pagers.

The UF/IFAS Florida Invasive Plant Education Initiative

Additionally, The UF/IFAS Florida Invasive Plant Education Initiative (IPEI) is the education and outreach arm of CAIP. The education coordinator, Lara Colley works to provide formal and informal educators with the information and resources needed to educate students about the impacts of invasive plants. The staff at IPEI have developed core modules including lessons and hands-on activities regarding invasive plants. The mission of IPEI is to increase the public’s awareness of invasive plants and their understanding of the need for invasive plant management, while fostering environmental literacy and stewardship among the citizens of Florida. The vision of IPEI is to become the leader in invasive plant education and to promote science literacy throughout the state of Florida and beyond.

Together, CAIP and IPEI are working to inform and educate the public about aquatic and invasive plants in Florida. Through education and outreach the team hopes to bring awareness to the issues surrounding invasive plants. For more information about the UF/IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants please visit https://plants.ifas.ufl.edu. Be sure to follow us on social @UFIFASCAIP. UF/IFAS CAIP, Turning Science Into Solutions.

By: Shelby Oesterreicher, 352-273-3667, soesterreicher@ufl.edu