Students Help Communities Restore Coastal Wetlands and Shorelines By Removing Invasive Phragmites

Phragbuster students

Read on to meet 4 students and the new Phragmites Coordinator who are helping to protect shorelines and coastal wetlands from the invasive plant Phragmites. If Phragmites are left to grow with no management action, small stands quickly grow into 'walls' up to 15 ft high and up to densities of 200 stems per metre, threatening plant diversity and habitat for many species including those at risk. And, it can quickly impede your enjoyment of the shoreline by making it difficult to access the water or enjoy the biodiversity of a natural wetland.

The students will be working with community leaders and volunteers to tackle and monitor as much of the 711 stands that were mapped (recorded) in our 2020 season, primarily in Tay Township and in the Township of Georgian Bay. Last year, we saw great success reducing the number and size of Phragmites stands. (To read the 2020 report by community, please click here.) We are so thankful to our financial partners in working to eradicate Phragmites on the coasts which include: Honey Harbour Association, the Cognashene Cottagers' Association , the Township of Georgian Bay , Tay Township,and thanks to GBF donors.

With that context, we are so pleased to have these environmentally educated students join the GBF team! We asked them what drives them to to this work, and here is what they said:

Sean Mullin

Hello! My name is Sean and I am a recent graduate of Carleton University. I majored in Biology with a concentration in Ecology, Evolution, and Behaviour and recently finished writing my undergraduate thesis on the invasive Round Goby.

Though new to the GBF team, I have lived the majority of my life on Georgian Bay and know the area like the back of my hand! This place is home to so many amazing species, and being able to be a part of an organization that works so hard to protect them will be an honour!

Georgian Bay holds a special place in my heart, and I am overjoyed to be working as part of the Phragbusters to help free the area and shorelines from the invasive Phragmites and keep them beautiful for its inhabitants!

Jared McNabb

Hi, I'm Jared! I'm a student at Georgian College studying in the Environmental Technician Program.

Nearly every summer of my life has been spent cottaging around the Georgian Bay area and over that time I've really come to appreciate how unique and naturally diverse this area is.

I've always had a passion for protecting and improving the environment. And I couldn't imagine a better way to spend my summer than to help eradicate and control invasive Phragmites around Georgian Bay.

I'm really excited to be working with GBF to accomplish this and I can't wait to see what the summer has in store for me!
Phragmites students Georgian Bay Forever 2021

Adam Rupik

Hello! I'm Adam, a 2020 graduate from the University of Guelph with a Major in Ecology.

I have done invasive species management for the Credit Valley Conservation Authority and the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters and I hope to bring my expertise to Georgian Bay Forever to continue the fight against Phragmites!

My experience in Georgian Bay is limited, but I have a huge appreciation for the beautiful scenery and wildlife of the Great Lakes basin. I hope that my time with GBF will increase my passion for the outdoors while I learn all I can about this beautiful area!

Feel free to wave and say hi if you see me in your area!

David Hastings-Grgas

I am a student in the Ecosystem Management program at Fleming College.

An avid cottager and boater, I have seen many changes come and go to Georgian Bay in my more than two decades on the Eastern shore.

My intentions are to do my part in educating and empowering the local community to remove and address invasive Phragmites and adapt to the changes the Bay is experiencing.

My hopes are that with greater education, awareness and will to take action that Georgian Bay will be preserved for generations to come.
Georgian Bay Phragmites Students 2021

Nicole Carpenter – Phragmites Coordinator and Summer Phragmites Student Manager

We are so pleased to introduce our second Nicole to the GBF staff. She is our new Phragmites Coordinator and Manager of the summer Phragmites Students. Nicole Carpenter

Nicole Carpenter grew up in Oro-Medonte. She has spent the majority of her time outdoors and on the water developing a great passion toward preserving the natural environment.

She has a Bachelor of Science in Marine and Freshwater Biology, minoring in Geographic Information Systems and Environmental Analysis from the University of Guelph where she developed a strong understanding in the importance of preserving and protecting our Great Lakes.

GBF asked her about what drives her passion for Georgian Bay and interest in Georgian Bay Forever.

    "I have always been keen on exploring Ontario’s Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves as well as canoeing, kayaking and swimming in the Great Lakes. Some of my fondest memories were spent with friends and family on the waters of Georgian Bay. When I learned about Georgian Bay Forever, I knew it was a team I wanted to be a part of to help protect these waters. As the Phragmites and Matchedash Bay Project Coordinator with Georgian Bay Forever I believe I can have a positive impact on the aquatic ecosystem’s that lay there."

Join us in welcoming Nicole Carpenter to your team working together to protect these waters. If you have any questions regarding invasive Phragmites management and control in your coastal community this summer, please email
More Information on invasive Phragmites:

  • For 5 important things happening or starting this summer on Phragmites, including the Matchedash Bay Project. Click here for "What's up with Phragmites?", click here.

  • Access to a lot of general information including identification on Phragmites project. Click here.

  • The "Select Cut" Process of Managing invasive Phragmites project. Click here.

  • To volunteer, or receive training on how to cut invasive Phragmites on the coasts of Georgian Bay, please email