Who can participate in the Spring Invasive Species Challenge?
You! We take reports from individuals, organizations, weed management groups, state and federal government entities, and private businesses. Bottom line: If you're pulling invasive species this spring, we want to hear about it!
What if I am paid to do this kind of work?
You can report too! We all have the same goal and everyone's hard work in the field counts
How do I report?
Use the reporting form on our website to report the specified metrics
What species are accepted?
Any non-native, invasive, herbaceous plant species that is best managed by being pulled in the spring. We believe that local decision making is essential for sustainable ecological management, and who knows your local areas better than those who frequently use and love them?
If you would like more information about invasive species that may be in your area, check out https://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/plants/databases.shtml for some resources. Your State's Department of Natural Resources or local conservation district will most likely have maps of what species to look our for in your area.
What metrics are we using?
We compare weights for this challenge (for those of you that prefer the "hours worked" metric: you'll love our October Volunteer Challenge!) When you are done with your pull, count your bags and use the following to compute the weight.
- 13 gallon garbage bag = 15 pounds
- 33 gallon garbage bag = 30 pounds
Don't worry, this information will also be on the online reporting form.
Ok, I pulled it... Now what?
You have a few options.
- Disposal: Unfortunately, many invasive species have seeds that can remain viable after being pulled or burned. You'll need to look into your local legislation, but most states allow invasive plants to be disposed of in a landfill. (Yes, we would rather compost it too- but not if it means dispersing many seeds throughout your compost pile)
- Please note that it is EXTREMELY important to mark the bags you've pulled as "Invasive Plants." (You can do so with a permanent marker and a piece of masking tape.) This will help ensure that your local waste collection service will know they should pick up those bags.
- Some plants (like garlic mustard) are safe to eat in moderation and if you are absolutely certain that they have not been treated with herbicide. Before consuming plants, you need to do some research on both the safety of consuming the plant and possible look-alikes that may be harmful.
Aren't there other management techniques for invasive species?
Absolutely. Hand-pulling is just what we focus on for this challenge. Depending on the species and the density of your invasive population, as well as the resources and trainings that are available to you, herbicides and prescribed burns can also be effective methods of clearing land to give your native systems a healthy start on spring.
What happens at the end of the Challenge?
We will report back to you with all of your stats from the season! The 3 weight class winners will be announced through our media outlets, have their names engraved on the Spring Invasive Species Challenge plaque, and be recognized at our Annual Conference in January.
Yes! We always want to hear stories and see photos from the field. We want to celebrate your hard work and give you the shout-outs that you deserve!
If you have stories or photos that you want to share, or if you have any questions regarding the challenge, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org