Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences Invasive Plant Project
honeysuckle spreading out along the ground

More about citizen science

Conservation education

The science…
What is science? We consider science a systematic process by which we come to understand the world.   Consider…
When a flashlight does not work, we rule out probable explanations first. We do not tend to take all components apart, right?

In summary…

Now let’s consider our project:

So we want to see if invasive plant distribution is correlated with trails/roads. Keep in mind that this does not mean that the trails roads caused invasive species spread. We would need to test this first! We also asked some other questions: Is trail intensity correlated? Are land use indicators correlated? How can we answer this? The data collection process: You measured data on the trail, another group measured data off trails (through establishing 150m transects). Your data are entered:

We use statistics to help us determine the relationship between the variables. You can probably imagine how one plots one variable against another. But what happens when you have many variables? To think about it, imagine a cloud of data points in many dimensions. We use ordination, a statistical technique, to enable us to determine which variables are most important in explaining why the invasive plant species exist where they do. We can then run standard statistics on these variables. Once we have a clear sense of what variables are important, we can help inform management and trail siting decisions. So…What can you do about it? Remember:

In general you can:

Visit our Resources and Go Native! pages to learn more…

Thank you for your participation!! Your contribution enabled:

  • Map of plant invasions in northeast forests
  • Test the notion that trails facilitate invasion
  • Predict future invasions?

We could not have done this without you. If you would like to add to our data set or report an invasive, send an email to

Stay in touch and happy hiking!

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