Non-native, invasive plants pose a serious threat to the health of our parks. You can help! The Weed Warrior Volunteer Program was created in 1999 to empower community members to help Montgomery Parks staff manage non-native, invasive plants (NNIs) on parkland. Volunteers are taught to properly identify and manage specific species of NNIs using best management practices. Weed Warrior volunteers have logged over 135,000 hours of service since 1999 and have made an incredible contribution to the control of NNIs in Montgomery County Parks!
• Participate in at least 2 Weed Warrior Workdays Events
• Complete two online e-courses at your own pace
• Attend a field training with Montgomery Parks Staff
Please remember to log your volunteer service hours and keep your contact information up-to-date.
Most natural communities support a great variety of native plants and animals. Such biodiversity is threatened when a few plant species take over and dominate the herbaceous, shrub, or canopy layers of a forest.
Non-native, invasive plant species (NNIs) can alter the complex webs of plant-animal associations that have evolved over thousands of years to such a degree that plants and animals once familiar to us are eliminated. In meadows, for example, NNI monocultures can threaten butterfly populations because they can no longer find the native host plants they depend on for survival. In forests, NNI vines can strangle and smother trees. NNI shrubs can displace and shade out native plants that provide birds and other wildlife with food and shelter. Recent research has shown that NNIs can even alter soil chemistry and disrupt the growth of the mycorrhizal fungi on which healthy forests depend. In short, NNIs are causing significant changes in the composition, structure, and ecosystem function of our natural areas.
A typical NNI plant has some or all of the following characteristics:
By their very nature, NNIs are difficult to control. Often it requires a mix of mechanical, chemical, and hand removal efforts to be successful. The key is to find NNI populations when they are small and remove them before they become established.
Give a Gift of Green to Weed Warriors
You can also help by donating. Learn how you can give or dedicate a “Gift of Green” for various commemorative purposes, to honor a person, group or occasion; memorialize a family member, friend, or colleague; celebrate a birthday, an anniversary, or another special event.
Visit the Montgomery Parks Foundation to learn more.