|Posted by PATC North - Blogger on March 30, 2015 at 11:10 AM|
Contributed by Dewey Clark, PATCNorth Overseer & PATC Invasive Plant Committee Chair
NEEDED: Volunteers to hike trails, identify & map invasive plants
WHERE: AT; Shenandoah; National Parks in/around DC; PA - Michaux & Caledonia; MD - State Trails
WHAT: Details Below
HOW: Sign Up Sheet
PATC and Partner Agencies to Work Together to Control Invasive Plants on Public Land
On December 2, 2014 PATC leadership including John Hedrick (then President), Dick Hostelly (President-Elect), and Bill Downes (Supervisor of Lands-Elect) met with senior ecologists from our partner federal and state agencies at Blackburn Trail Center. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss PATC assistance in combating the spread of invasive plants such as wavyleaf basketgrass and Japanese stiltgrass throughout the trail system. The agencies were represented by Jake Hughes (SNP), Mark Frey (NPS-National Capitol Region), Marian Orlousky (ATC-MARO), Kerrie Kyde (MD DNR), and Andrew Rohrbaugh (PA DCNR).
The group determined that there is a role for PATC in this effort and PATC leadership felt the club should be involved. Each agency is combating the problem of forest destruction and habitat loss resulting from the spread of invasive species with very limited resources. Many policy makers have not yet fully grasped the extent of the issue nor its implications for all aspects of modern society. As a group of regular forest users, PATC members have become aware of the spread of invasive species and their negative effects on the health of our forests.
It was decided that a critical first step that PATC can help with is collecting invasive plant location data (inventory). Gathering detailed information about which species occur where is essential for effective management of invasives.. Once location information is gathered species control efforts can be prioritized using information about rare plant communities and the invasiveness of the plants reported. Inventories are also useful for detecting invasives just getting started in an area, the stage when control is most likely to be successful. There are several professionally developed smart phone apps that use GPS and plant ID guides to assist in collecting the data needed. While virtually all PATC members enjoy walking the trails, not all have the ability or desire to perform trail maintenance. This project provides a great way for more members to become involved.
This is a call for volunteers to assist in the inventory of invasive plants within the Mid-Atlantic forest. It will involve recording species and their location along the trails (no cross country trekking involved) as outlined by the agency or land area to which the volunteers will be assigned. Different land management agencies or sites may have different lists of target species. The training and supervision for volunteers will be provided by the agency they sign up with. Time commitments required will also likely vary by agency or site, but scouting throughout the year, with more effort given during the growing season, will be needed.
You should be willing to commit two days a month to this work; but it is essentially hiking the trails and documenting specific plant species when you encounter them. No off trail work and no set schedule other than what you and your land manager agree to.
Assignments are available with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (Mid-Atlantic Office), Pennsylvania DCNR, Maryland DNR and the following National Park entities:
Shenandoah National Park
Fredericksburg/Spotsylvania National Military Park
Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
Monocacy National Battlefield
George Washington Memorial Parkway
Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts
Manassas National Battlefield Park
Rock Creek Park
This is an excellent opportunity to work directly with some of the top ecologists in the region. You will be invited to the same training opportunities provided to paid staff. Some of the agencies require very little initial experience because of the methods and training they will provide. In particular, we are looking for Master Naturalists, Master Gardeners, trained Weed Warriors, and individuals with college level coursework in ecology. Volunteer hour credit for Master Naturalists and Master Gardeners will be available for this work.
If you are lacking experience in these skills but you want to help improve the health of the forest, please do send me your information. Several land managers made it clear they will work with untrained volunteers who are seriously and genuinely committed to helping with improving health of the forest.
If you would like to be involved in this invasive species work, please use this sign up form (click on underlined text fto sign up). If you cannot access the form, email Dewey Clark at email@example.com