Funded! This project was successfully funded on June 27, 2013.

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A series of videos about Phragmites, an invasive reed that has damaged hundreds of acres in The Great Marsh.

Common reed (Phragmites australis) is an invasive plant which has taken over hundreds of acres in The Great Marsh during the past 30 years. Phragmites australis grows in a range of wetland habitats, from freshwater to seawater. Once established, Phragmites spreads rapidly and can quickly out-compete smaller, native marsh plants. In some locations, Phragmites can grow to over 15ft tall, while its roots grow 3-4 times deeper than the native marsh plants.

The problems created by the rapid spread of Phragmites has alarmed recreational users as well as conservation and management groups dedicated to The Great Marsh. The severity of the invasion, and the speed at which it has been occurring, has resulted in unprecedented cooperation between organizations with a wide diversity of interests.

Together, these groups are uniting to combat Phragmites with one common goal: Preserving The Great Marsh. This Kickstarter Project seeks to build on their work and illustrate the threat of Phragmites to a wider audience.

The Great Marsh, Massachusetts
The Great Marsh, Massachusetts

The Great Marsh is one of the most ecologically important salt marsh systems in New England comprising over 20,000 acres of marsh and other important coastal habitats. The 14 square mile area, spanning from Cape Ann to the New Hampshire border, is visited yearly by approximately 70% of the migratory birds in the eastern flyway. This unique estuary, where fresh and ocean waters mix, provides habitat for countless species and is extremely productive for sea life.

QR Coded Signs posted around The Great Marsh will point to the informative videos.
QR Coded Signs posted around The Great Marsh will point to the informative videos.

This Kickstarter project is seeking funds to create a series of videos to be hosted on Youtube. As the project develops with the growing season, we will post each segment on Youtube and embed them into informative web pages. We will also post QR coded signs linked to these web pages at locations all around The Great Marsh.

When the growing season ends in the fall, DVDs with the complete set of videos will be available for schools, organizations, and town officials around the Marsh.

Officials at The Trustees of the Reservation, Massachusetts Audubon Society, the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge and Historic New England, Essex County Green Belt Association, and Essex National Heritage Commission have all expressed an interest in having the videos available as teaching tools and links on their web sites.

The three experts on The Great Marsh who will be featured in the video are:

Gregg Moore, Ph.D. Assistant Research Professor Jackson Estuarine Laboratory University of New Hampshire
Gregg Moore, Ph.D. Assistant Research Professor Jackson Estuarine Laboratory University of New Hampshire
Peter Phippen, Coastal Resources Coordinator, Eight Town and Great Marsh Committee, The Massachusetts Bay National Estuary Program, Merrimack Valley Planning Commission
Peter Phippen, Coastal Resources Coordinator, Eight Town and Great Marsh Committee, The Massachusetts Bay National Estuary Program, Merrimack Valley Planning Commission
Geoff Walker, Selectman, Town of Newbury, Marsh Chairman, Ducks Unlimited, Hank Walker Decoy Carver
Geoff Walker, Selectman, Town of Newbury, Marsh Chairman, Ducks Unlimited, Hank Walker Decoy Carver

With your help getting this project funded, we hope to educate the general public, elected officials, and business owners about the damage and the dangers caused by this invasive species throughout all the towns which share in the beauty and the responsibilities of this very important and precious ecosystem.

Phragmites stands are the tall areas of growth in this image looking over the Merrimack River toward Newburyport.
Phragmites stands are the tall areas of growth in this image looking over the Merrimack River toward Newburyport.

Hundreds of thousands visit the Great Marsh every summer, unaware of the stress Phragmites is putting on this fragile ecosystem. By funding this project, you will be helping us build a community committed to a healthy future for the Great Marsh and other wetlands across the country. Thank you from all us involved in this project for helping to make it possible.

Pictured above is a healthy section of The Great Marsh.
Pictured above is a healthy section of The Great Marsh.
The Phragwrites Pen, one of our thank you gift items, maybe be the only useful item made from the common reed.
The Phragwrites Pen, one of our thank you gift items, maybe be the only useful item made from the common reed.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

The four people featured in our Kickstarter video are fully committed to producing an educational tool of some kind to help the general public, town officials, the business community to understand the problems Phragmites presents to this significant ecosystem. Each dollar you pledge to this project will be used to improve the production quality of the videos, increase the number of segments we can produce and ultimately increase the size of its audience. Simply put, the more you donate, the greater the number of people we will reach and empower with this information.

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  • Pledge $10 or more
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    15 backers

    We will gratefully add your name to the list of donors on the Danger in the Reeds web page.

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  • Pledge $30 or more
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    11 backers

    Everyone who contributes $30 or more will receive a DVD with the full set of videos, signed by the experts featured, as soon after the final segment is completed at the end of the year.

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    Add $5 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $50 or more
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    9 backers

    In addition to the signed DVD, you will receive a limited edition, color print ready for framing, signed by the three Great Marsh experts and the project’s photographer with our heart-felt gratitude.

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  • Pledge $100 or more
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    11 backers

    Wow! Thanks, you can look forward to receiving the signed DVD and color print, and a specially commissioned Phragwrites pen!

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    Add $12 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $250 or more
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    5 backers

    Come party with us! In addition to all of the above, you will be invited to a lobster bake this summer (as soon as the greenheads are gone) at a location close to The Great Marsh.

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  • Pledge $500 or more
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    3 backers

    A boat ride in The Great Marsh with one or more of the three experts as guides will top the list of all the thank you gifts you will receive. We will travel up and down narrow tidal streams and across the beautiful Plum Island Sound visiting both healthy marsh and those plagued by Phragmites infestation. This trip will be designed to be the most informative introduction anyone could hope to have to The Great Marsh.

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  • Pledge $1,000 or more
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    2 backers

    A 40 minute plane ride out of Plum Island Airport, “2B2,” the nation’s oldest, continuously used air strip, with a local pilot and one of the three Great Marsh experts as your guide. Flying the oval around the edge of the Great Marsh at about 4,000 feet is one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. You too can have this wonderful experience plus the boat ride, lobster bake, Phragwrites Pen, color print, the DVD and a special listing at the top of the web page of generous contributors to Danger in the Reeds. People travel from around the world to visit our Great Marsh, but very few get to experience the beauty of the Marsh from a plane!

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Funding period

- (30 days)