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Texas State University

Geography senior receives Research Fellowship by the San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance

Student Achievements

Kolby Morris | March 19, 2021

Haley Tacker, a senior in the Geography - Resource and Environmental Studies program at Texas State University, was awarded a Research Fellowship by the San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance based on her research-based thesis submitted for Honors Studies. 

Tacker plans to graduate May 2021 with a bachelor’s degree along with two minors in horticulture and Honors Studies.

“My favorite thing about researching at Texas State is the local San Marcos community and the bountiful opportunities to become involved within it,” Tacker said. “My research has been supported by an amazing local non-profit, the San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance, which has been a mutually beneficial relationship. I love that we get to go to school in such an active community.”

The findings and research in Tacker’s thesis, “Trail-Side Inventories of Ligustrum lucidum and Nandina Domestica Throughout Prospect Park and Spring Lake Natural Areas” will help the parks and natural areas around San Marcos by removing invasive plant species.

young female student standing in wooded area
Haley Tacker
close up of tree's leaves and berries
Japanese Privet

Her research outlines a plan to help eradicate the two invasive plant species, Ligustrum lucidum and Nandina Domestica, otherwise known as the Japanese Privet and Heavenly Bamboo, around 10 miles of San Marcos parks and other natural areas. Tacker tag the plants and input them into a GPS database so the San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance and the City of San Marcos will be able to safely and effectively remove them.

Tacker said her project was inspired by her Texas State courses. “I became interested in invasive species in my landscape biogeography and herbaceous/woody plants classes where I learned about what kinds of exotic invasive species are present in the area and their consequences.”

Tacker said she believes that the spread of these species have come from household ornamental horticulture practices. She listed some of the common invasive plants to be on the lookout for, including Bermuda grass (Cynodont dactylon), Chinaberry (Melia azedarach), and Golden Bamboo (Phyllostachys aurea).

“The prevention and eradication of certain species is something that everyone can contribute to. San Martians can best battle against invasive species by being thoughtful about what kind of plants they use in their personal home and business landscapes. Do some research into landscapers and what plants are suggested for the area- make sure you’re not installing anything that will be impossible to remove.”

Tacker has been accepted into the university’s Sustainability Studies graduate program in the fall.

For more information, contact University Communications:

Jayme Blaschke, 512-245-2555

Sandy Pantlik, 512-245-2922