Natural Resources Manager for Houston Parks and Recreation Department Email: Jed.Aplaca@houstontx.gov
Growing up in Hawaii, I have been surrounded by non-native invasive species most of my life. Plants have always interested me the most as I have focused my studies through college on botany and then focusing on non-native species and graduating from Brigham Young University – Provo, Utah in 2004 with a B.S. in Conservation Biology. After spending a year as a Biological Science Technician with USFS at the Shrub Science Lab in Provo, Utah I moved on to complete my M.S. at Texas State University in Biology. My thesis focused on the “Non-native Flora of Texas,” which included in-depth research into the complete list of non-native plant species reported in the State of Texas and some analysis into distribution, Family dominance and the Botanist effect.
I have been employed with the Houston Parks and Recreation Department since 2007. As the Natural Resources Manager, I get on the ground experience with the introduction of new non-native species in an urban environment and gaining firsthand knowledge of the distribution and expansion of invasive species.
My passion has always been plant identification. I enjoy finding plants that I do not know and keying them out to learn something new. Non-native species have many pathways of entering a new area and it is important that people who are involved in management of these lands are aware and can help identify new and potential threats to the natural ecosystems.