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2023 New Jersey Invasive Species Conference

We are pleased to host our 16th annual New Jersey Invasive Species Strike Team Conference! Widely considered the most...
Wed, Apr 19, 9:00 AM
Duke Farms  •  Hillsborough, NJ

About This Event

We are pleased to host our 16th annual New Jersey Invasive Species Strike Team Conference!

Widely considered the most comprehensive state-wide forum on invasive species and continues to evolve to address new and emerging issue, the conference has typically involved nearly 150 participants and speakers, representing academia, industry, government agencies, NGOs, the general public, and other stakeholders involved in the issues. Many are seeking opportunities for cooperation and collaboration to address invasive species from a state-wide perspective.

Continuing Education Units

Urban and Community Forestry Program – 4 CEUs

NJDEP Pesticide Control Program

  • Core – Basic Safety and Handling – 2 CEUs
  • Category 2 – Forest – 4 CEUs
  • Category 3A – Ornamentals – 4 CEUs
  • Category 6B – Right-of-Way – 4 CEUs
  • Category 8C – Campground – 4 CEUs
  • Category 9 – Regulatory – 4 CEUs
  • Category 10 – Demonstrations and Research – 2 CEUs
  • Category PP2 – Private Applicator – 4 CEUs

Society for Ecological Restoration

  • CERP – 4 CEUs (expected)

PA Pesticide Program

  • 00 – Core – 2 CEUs
  • PC – Private Category – 3 CEUs
  • 05 – Forest Pest Control – 3 CEUs
  • 06 – Ornamental & Shade Tree – 3 CEUs
  • 10 – Right-of-Way & Weeds – 3 CEUs
  • 18 – Demonstration and Research – 3 CEUs
  • 23 – Park/School Pest Control – 3 CEUs

Speaker Bios

Danielle Bara is a Stewardship Project Coordinator for New Jersey Audubon based in southern New Jersey. Since joining the organization in 2017, she has worked on a variety of habitat restoration projects on both private and public lands, many of which involve invasive species management. Danielle’s work at New Jersey Audubon is primarily within the Forest Health & Resiliency program, focusing on the New Jersey Pine Barrens, Delaware Bay Region, and Cape May Peninsula.

Michael Bellaus has been professionally managing both flora and fauna in New Jersey for nearly a decade. After graduating from McDaniel College in 2010, he worked for the New Jersey Invasive Species Strike Team and Monmouth County Park System systematically controlling invasive plant populations. He specializes in deer management with a focus on herd population reduction as well as deer management program creation and implementation. He works annually with the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife performing deer population distribution surveys and held a position on the Hopewell Township Deer Management Advisory Committee for three years. He is currently involved with the Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space as a Land Steward focusing on the control of newly emerging and highly threatening invasive plant populations but works full time as the Manager of Habitat Restoration at Duke Farms where his primary responsibility is the restoration of habitats and management of the natural resources throughout the property.

Beth Craighead graduated from Delaware Valley College in Doylestown with a degree in Environmental Science. She is the Senior Land Steward for Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space, where she has worked for 13 years. Her prior work experience includes Stony Brook Millstone Association, Washington Crossing State Park and Nature Center and Hunterdon County Parks.
Beth works with private landowners to implement stewardship strategies on their property for the Community Conservation Program and surveys for the removal of invasive plants. She helps participants with layout of their plantings and recommendations for care. Beth leads workdays with volunteers to remove invasive plants and maintains the trails system.
Beth takes the lead on Citizen Science, she coordinates volunteers for the Christmas Bird Count, the Great Backyard Bird count and the Fourth of July Butterfly Count. Beth leads the American Kestrel Nest Box Program, which includes communicating with landowners and coordinating with state experts. She coordinates volunteers to monitor nest boxes through the spring and summer. Beth trains and supervises the FoHVOS summer interns. Beth assists with restoration plantings and maintenance and recruits volunteers for special projects. She is responsible for maintaining FOHVOS meadows by getting them mowed on a regular basis and keeping them free from invasives. Beth is responsible for the Summer Triangle Project and the restored garden at Baldpate, she maintains the triangles and the garden with the assistance of volunteers. Beth also assists with the planning and implementation of the NJ Invasive Species Strike Team.

Dr. Alexandra Gillett is a research scientist at the NJDA’s Phillip Alampi Beneficial Insect Rearing Lab in Ewing, NJ. She currently manages the laboratory’s permits, cooperative agreements with the USDA, the Black swallowwort and Mexican bean beetle projects, and co-manages the Spotted-wing drosophila project. During her undergraduate years, she also worked at the URI Biological Control Lab and the USDA Beneficial Insect Rearing Lab (DE) with a wide variety is insect species, resulting in a combined 10 years of experience in insect biocontrol and mass rearing. Alexandra holds a PhD in Entomology from Rutgers where she researched mosquito-plant interactions. She also received a BS in Entomology and Plant Protection from the Univ. of Delaware. Her senior thesis evaluated the effect of non-native plant species on populations of native parasitoids.

Dr. Bernie Isaacson is a research forester with the New Jersey Forest Service. His experience with natural resources and ecological processes spans a wide range in scale, from the 2.3-million-foot view of satellite-based remote sensing forest research, to the 1:1 stakeholdering required to craft public forest management plans. He has experience working in land and wildlife management, forest health, endangered species conservation, urban and community forestry, soil conservation, and water quality. Focusing on applied science, his projects are centered on advancing access to pertinent scientific knowledge and delivering products tailored to support the end-user. Bernard enjoys gardening, hunting, foraging, fishing, and folks who like to grow the things we use every day.

Dr. Mike Van Clef is the FoHVOS Stewardship Director and Program Director of the New Jersey Invasive Species Strike Team. He co-founded the Strike Team in 2008 with the goal of bringing greater efficiency and effectiveness to invasive species management. Mike has a Ph.D. in ecology from Rutgers University and over 25 years of experience in land stewardship, planning and research, working extensively in the evaluation and management of rare and invasive species and deer management. He has consulted with over 30 organizations in NJ including the NJ Invasive Species Council for which he prepared the New Jersey Strategic Management Plan for Invasive Species.
Most recently, Mike was a member of Senator Bob Smith’s Forest Task Force working toward consensus on the stewardship of public forest lands. He also serves on the Task Force’s related Invasive Species Workgroup that is providing suggestions to regulate invasive species.

Marc Virgilio is a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program (Partners). Based out of the New Jersey Field Office, he works with private landowners to implement habitat restoration projects that help benefit federal trust resources (i.e. federally listed species, migratory birds, migratory fish, at-risk species). Invasive species removal is often a key component of habitat restoration and the Partners program works to eliminate kudzu as part of those efforts. As a relatively infrequent occurrence, Partners is prioritizing early detection and rapid response removal of kudzu, which is expected to expand its range due to climate change.

Kerry Wixted is the Amphibian, Reptile, and Invasive Species Program Manager for the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, which represents a national coordination of state agencies working from Washington, DC. Prior to her current role, she worked with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.