Invasive species are causing environmental and economic harm all across the globe. Stopping the introduction of non-native species is the most effective way to deal with them. Non-native earthworms are one particular invasive species affecting the Great Lakes region. There is a need for a rapid assessment method to understand current impacts and identifying areas still earthworm-free. Through research in Minnesota and Wisconsin an Invasive Earthworm Rapid Assessment Tool (IERAT) was developed. The IERAT is a tool for the identification of earthworm impacts using visual indicators. Once earthworms are established there is no known effective way to remove them from the landscape and it is proposed that outreach and education are an effective method to prevent new introductions and to slow the spread of earthworms in northern hardwood forests of the Great Lakes region. This project develops the evaluation framework of the IERAT training. Using the framework evaluators will be assessing the tools’ validity, reliability of land mangers to use the tool, ability of trainers to conduct workshops, best dissemination techniques, changes in participants’ knowledge, attitudes and behaviors from before and after the training, and effects on management decisions. The evaluation plan will be carried out during the second year of training season. The results of the evaluation will be used to make appropriate adjustments to the IERAT and trainings. With earthworm distribution data that the IERAT provides, land managers will be able to develop important areas of protection and work with other interested parties to protect these areas for future generations.
Presented in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Master of Education - Environmental Education in the College of Education and Human Service Professions, University of Minnesota Duluth, 2012. Committee names: Ken Gilbertson (Chair), Cindy Hale, Pat Farrell. This item has been modified from the original to redact the signatures present.
University of Minnesota Duluth. College of Education and Human Service Professions
Hueffmeier, Ryan M..
Evaluation Plan for an Earthworm Rapid Assessment Tool Training Program for Land Managers in Northern Hardwood Forest Types in the Western Great Lakes Region.
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