Newaygo Invasive Plant Project

The Newaygo County Invasive Plants (NIPP) was established in 2010 by the husband-and-wife team of Randy Butters and Sarah Pregitzer. NIPP’s creation was in response to increased sightings of invasive plants on the area wild lands and private holdings of Newaygo County residents. At that time, invasive plant species were rare, few residents were aware, and there was no formal local group or agency to find information or seek assistance in controlling their spread.

Sarah had worked with invasive education during her classroom years, and former students would often call and request help in identifying and controlling small, outlying patches on their turf. With tremendous support from the West Michigan Conservation Network (formerly the West MI Cluster of The Stewardship Network), the Land Conservancy of West Michigan, the Fremont Area Foundation, and the U.S. Forest Service, The Newaygo County Invasive Plants (NIPP) was begun.

In the early years, NIPP took every opportunity to spread their mission whether by giving educational workshops, and/or distributing literature. Additionally, NIPP carried their message to local school groups through the Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative. getting hundreds of students into the field for hands-on experience with invasives. Organizations such as The North Country Trail, which travels through the length of the county, benefited from invasive shrub removal, as well as the installation of numerous boot brush stations with signage. With assistance from the Muskegon River Watershed Assembly’s mobile boat washer, demonstrations and events were hosted throughout the watershed. NIPP helped many private landowners identify invasives and figure out the correct treatment method. The Newaygo County Parks became an enthusiastic partner, by hosting removal events and large native plant restoration projects.

Lately and a direct result of the pandemic, NIPP’s work has been on a much smaller scale, working with the Michigan Nature Association as co-stewards of Newaygo County’s four sanctuaries. NIPP removes invasives and completes restoration plantings. Recently, native lupine seeds were collected, and a group of volunteers created approximately one thousand seed balls. These seed balls will be cast back onto the prairie sanctuaries after prescribed burns this month. Removing young Scotch Pine saplings that invade the Oak Savanna ecosystem, surveying for garlic mustard, and hikes to remove invasive plants are planned.  Newaygo County Invasive Plants (NIPP) would like to thank the West Michigan Conservation Network for their steadfast and continued support and encouragement over the past years.

For additional information including NIPP Upcoming Events: