Kalmia Removing Invasive Species, Restoring  Habitat

$10,000 grant from the Duke Energy Foundation will make this effort possible.

Kalmia Gardens of Coker College recently received a $10,000 grant from the Duke Energy Foundation to restore the Gardens’ natural habitat through the removal of nonnative invasive plant species (NNIS).

Nonnative invasive species are a major threat to native biodiversity, and Kalmia continues to lose natural habitat and biodiversity due to the onslaught of NNIS. Studies show that NNIS outcompete native plant species for resources and fail to provide the same level of environmental services (such as nutrition, ground cover, erosion control, etc.), having a detrimental impact on native ecological communities.

With the grant from the Duke Energy Foundation, the removal of NNIS from Kalmia Gardens will restore, promote, and protect natural habitats and wildlife, while also providing a buffer against NNIS invading the neighboring 799-acre Segars-Mckinnon Heritage Preserve. Kalmia will employ trained experts to remove the NNIS from various locations around the Gardens. During the removal, descriptive signs will be placed at each location informing visitors about the dangers of NNIS.

Once the NNIS have been removed, the areas will be monitored for regrowth of the native plant community, as well as any regrowth of NNIS in these areas. Any regrowth of NNIS will be immediately removed to prevent reinfestation and allow the native vegetation to recover.

“Of all the environmental threats out there, the invasion of nonnative invasive species is one of the greatest threats to our ecosystems,” said Dan Hill, Assistant Director Kalmia Gardens of Coker College. “It is also a threat we can get control of to have a positive outcome. With support from organizations like the Duke Energy Foundation, small, nonprofit entities like Kalmia Gardens can be equipped with the necessary resources to combat this huge problem in such a way that the native habitat is restored and protected, while, at the same time, educate the public about the perils of nonnative invasive species.”

“The Pee Dee region is home to beautiful and treasured natural resources,” said Mindy Taylor, government and community relations manager for Duke Energy. “We are proud to invest resources and work alongside community partners like the folks at Kalmia Gardens to ensure future generations enjoy the benefits of the nature around us.”

For more information, please contact Dan Hill, assistant director, Kalmia Gardens of Coker College, at 843.383.8145 or dhill@coker.edu.

Nature. Community. Education.