Weed Watchers Wanted!

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In many regions of the United States and other parts of the world, Volunteer Weed Watchers are needed to help identify and control Invasive Weeds.  Invasive weeds are officially classified plants that harm the native ecology or agriculture in a particular region.  Controlling the spread of Invasive Weeds is a costly endeavor that is beyond the financial scope of many governments without the help of volunteers. 

The benefits of being a Weed Watcher are the experience of being outdoors and learning about the identification of Invasive Weeds in your region.  Training and supervision is provided as well as graphic materials and guidelines to help you in the field.  This may also be a good starting point for people interested in a related career.

Weed Watching is fun and an excellent activity for classroom outings, Buy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4H Clubs and gardening clubs.  You can become an expert Weed Watcher in your neighborhood by learning how to identify the weeds in your community and determine which weeds are invasive and dangerous to the native ecology.

We have listed a number of organizations in various regions that actively depend on Weed Watchers volunteers, also known as Weed Busters and Weed Warriors.  For each organization, a link is provided for more information.  Related nature conservancy volunteer opportunities are also included, most of whom involved in weed identification and control to some extent.

Many invasive weed species are aquatic weeds which threaten the native aquatic flora and fauna.  Invasive weeds are also called Exotic plants,  Noxious weeds and Alien weeds in technical literature.  A Nuisance species may not be exotic but may be dangerous to the ecology. 

To get a head start on identifying weeds in your area, you may wish to look at various books in our Weed Books listings, as well as the interactive CD, 1,000 Weeds of North America, which identifies more weed species with higher quality graphics than any other resource available today.   With this interactive CD, you'll be amazed how quickly you can identify different weeds merely by selecting features like leaf type, flower color, size and location, for example.  

You can also identify many invasive species on our listing of free Weed Lists resources.  Over 200 weed identification resources are listed in the Ergonica Weed Identification Reference Matrix.

When you're going out on the trail, don't forget to bring your multi-purpose Weed Twister.  The Weed Twister makes an excellent walking stick, brush mover, spider web clearer, first defense against snakes and small critters, as well as a Noxious Weed Remover. 

Your portable GPS tool will help you identify the exact location of the invasive weeds you discover so that you can make accurate reports and monitor the success of weed control in that area in subsequent outings.

If you are a member of a Weed Watcher volunteer group, or would like to find out about other similar groups, you will find many volunteer organizations listed here.

If your group is NOT listed here, please contact Ergonica by e-mail at info[AT]ergonica.com  to request a link to your site.  You may also use the Ergonica Information form to provide the necessary information for your link.

Weed Watching is fun and educational and an excellent activity for classroom outings, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4H Clubs and gardening clubs.


 What kinds of Weeding Tools do You need?

 

Take your workouts to the next level with all the great GPS features found in the Forerunner 201, plus the added capability of a continuous heart rate monitor. Knowing your heart rate while walking, running or hiking lets you measure your exercise intensity and performance, giving you a powerful training tool.  The Forerunner 301's training profiles can be customized for walking, running, cycling and other activities. For those interested in losing weight, improving fitness, reaching peak athletic performance, or just improving health to reduce heart-related problems, the Forerunner 301 delivers.   An excellent part of your equipment package for Weed Watching, Bird Watching and hiking the trails.

 Weed Watchers - Weed Busters - Weed Warriors - Weedwackers - Volunteers Wanted!

Alabama - The Nature Conservancy - Volunteers Are you interested in... Participating in activities that help preserving Alabama’s wondrous natural places? Enjoying the outdoors and meeting people who share your love of nature? Making an important contribution to an organization you believe in? Rewarding experience for personal and professional growth? If you answered yes, Volunteering may be right for you!   Opportunities include Public Relations Opportunities (B'ham), Stewardship Workday Opportunities (Fall Locations TBD) - Contact smagargee@tnc.org, Photography (State-wide)
Alaska - Pulling Together in Alaska: A Volunteer's Guide to Community Weed Pulling Events Have you ever thought about a gardener's worst nightmare?  It would include walking into the garden and finding alien plants taking over and scratching at your ankles. Unfortunately, this nightmare isn't very far from the truth. There are noxious and invasive plants in Alaska that destroy crops and natural and recreational areas.
Arizona Rangelands: Noxious Weeds II: What Can You Do To Stop a Disaster in Arizona? The noxious weed problem in the United States has been described as, "a biological forest fire racing beyond control because no one wants to be fire boss." Indeed, when small weed infestations are left unchecked, they can grow and spread across the land much like a slow-moving biological wildfire. However, land consumed by wildfires usually recovers. Land consumed by noxious weeds may not. This brochure provides guidelines on how you can become part of the noxious weed "fire crew" in Arizona.
Arizona - Sonoran Desert Weedwackers The Sonoran Desert Weedwackers is a community network of volunteers coordinated by the Southern Chapter of the Arizona Native Plant Society. This weed eradication program operates in cooperation with Pima County Parks and Recreation-Tucson Mountain Park (TMP), Pima County Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan (SDCP), Saguaro National Park (SNP), Sonoran Arthropod Studies Institute (SASI) and Tucson Botanical Gardens (TBG) and the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum (ASDM). The purpose of the program is to clear infestations of fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum) and buffelgrass (Pennisetum ciliare), and other exotic species that threaten native plant populations in the Sonoran Desert region.  See video and photos.

California - The Nature Conservancy - Volunteers Are you interested in... helping the environment?
working with others who share your love of nature?
contributing your time and skills to an organization you believe in? broadening your resume and/or life experiences? If you answered yes to any of these questions, we've got some great opportunities for you.  We have partnered with a nonprofit service, VolunteerMatch, to register our opportunities throughout the state.
California - Los Angeles River - The Village Gardeners
  • Earth Day Weekend, April 17-19, 2009  

    Help the Village Gardeners restore natural habitat along the Los Angeles River, at the Richard Lillard Outdoor Classroom, in Studio City. Continue the work started there on Big Sunday 2008. Project includes removal of invasive non-native plant species to allow natives to flourish, mulching to restore the soils and keep trees and shrubs healthy, planting natives and more. Our goal is to create a model California native plant garden in 2009. Time: 9:00 A.M.- 12:00 P.M. Your participation will make a difference! 
           For more info about the Richard Lillard Outdoor Classroom            and directions go to:                          
           http://www.lamountains.com/parks.asp?parkid=48

           Please RSVP to: info@thevillagegardeners.org
California - Sacramento Weed Warriors The American River Parkway and creeks throughout Sacramento are being invaded. The invaders are non-native plants: Red Sesbania, Spanish Broom, Giant Reed (Arundo), Yellow Starthistle, Chinese Tree of Heaven, and others. So what's the matter with these plants brought from distant parts of the world? Why not let nature take its course? Unfortunately, these exotic plants have been brought to California and Sacramento by actions of man, not by "mother nature" and have become invasive weeds. In our environment, because of their adaptability -these plants can out-compete young willows, sycamores, cottonwoods, and other native plants for water, nutrients from the soil and sunlight. They are robbing our waterways of water with their deep tap roots. Sesbania and Spanish Broom produce millions of seeds and thus thousands of new plants are taking over whole islands and sand bars on the American River and along Dry Creek and Arcade Creek. Starthistle eliminates native grasses and its sharp spiked flowers make trails virtually impassable for hikers, fishermen, and bird watchers.
Colorado Cares The Sixth Annual Colorado Cares Day took place Saturday, July 31, 2004. Thousands of people volunteered together in communities across Colorado on this special day of service. Citizens of all ages and abilities gave back to their communities and the state by sharing their time and talents to help make Colorado an even better place to live.
Connecticut - The Nature Conservancy - Volunteers Are you interested in:   helping the environment?  working with others who share your love of nature? contributing your time and skills to an organization you believe in?  broadening your resume and/or life experiences?  If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, we've got some great opportunities for you including Preserve Monitors, Trail Adopters Needed at Devil's Den, Weston and Redding and Data Entry and Office Volunteers at Devil's Den office, Weston.
Delaware - The Nature Conservancy - Volunteers We've got some great volunteer opportunities for you in Delaware, including:  Invasive weed control, Workday team leaders,
Horseshoe crab survey, Photography, Tree planting, Office assistants, Research projects, Booth at community events, Speakers bureau
District of Columbia - The Nature Conservancy - Volunteers Are you interested in... helping the environment?
working with others who share your love of nature?
contributing your time and skills to an organization you believe in? broadening your resume and life experiences?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, we've got some great opportunities for you including Weed Busters, Outdoor Work Parties, Planting and Maintaining Trees, Restoration Projects and Office Help.
Florida - The Nature Conservancy - Volunteers Are you interested in:  helping the environment?  working with others who share your love of nature?
contributing your time and skills to an organization you believe in?  broadening your resume and/or life experiences?  If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, we've got some  great opportunities for you in several areas: Blowing Rocks Preserve, The Disney Wilderness Preserve, Florida Keys, Lake Wales Ridge, Northwest Florida, Alternative Spring Break 2005, Northwest Florida
Georgia - The Nature Conservancy - Volunteers The Nature Conservancy depends heavily on the efforts of volunteers like you to make our conservation efforts successful. We host work parties at our preserve sites on a regular basis, where you can work with others who share your love of nature to help the environment. Below are some of the opportunities we've got scheduled; check back here regularly for an updated list.
Review available opportunities in areas including North Georgia,
Middle Georgia and Southeast Georgia.
Hawaii Invasive Species - things you can do... Visit the State of Hawai’i websites, learn about invasive species and their impacts, look for opportunities where you can volunteer and check the
newspapers that announce opportunities for cleaning beaches, streams, forests, roadsides or parks.  Promptly report sightings of plants and animals that don’t belong in Hawai’i (snakes, alligators, parrots, miconia, banana poka, exotic birds, and other plants or animals):
Illinois DuPage County Restoration Volunteers We are a group of individuals committed to preserving the native plants and animals of DuPage County, Illinois, in healthy, viable ecosystems. We are volunteers that come from many walks of life and backgrounds. What we all have in common is a love for our natural areas and wild things. We are part of the Volunteer Stewardship Network (VSN) of The Nature Conservancy. We work in partnership with the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County and other local landowners, to restore prairies, woodlands, and wetlands to ecological health.
Indiana - The Nature Conservancy - Volunteers The Nature Conservancy of Indiana’s volunteer program provides concerned citizens with opportunities to work towards our shared goal of ecological health. The majority of active volunteers participate in stewardship workdays, which are held almost every weekend. 
Iowa - The Nature Conservancy - Volunteers The Nature Conservancy in Iowa uses volunteers for many activities from assisting in the office to stewardship and prescribed burns.

Kansas - The Nature Conservancy - Volunteers In Kansas, volunteers are needed to help with preserve activities, events, and in the Topeka office. Volunteers provide the Kansas Chapter with much needed assistance. Your time and energy are very important and valuable to the Conservancy. There is no fee to participate, but you must call to let us know when you can help.
Kentucky - The Nature Conservancy - Volunteers We've got some great Volunteer opportunities for you in Kentucky including Stewardship Opportunities, Office Opportunities and  Additional Opportunities.
Louisiana - The Nature Conservancy - Volunteers The Nature Conservancy of Louisiana needs members to take an active role in conserving biodiversity by volunteering. Volunteers have opportunities to join our ever growing program of supporters who want to make a difference. Join us on our stewardship days (planting trees, non-native species removal, plant and animal inventory, etc.), or work in the office.  We have also worked with various clubs and organizations along with corporations throughout the state in the recruitment of volunteers.
Maine Plant Identification Volunteer Monitoring Program If you think there is an invasive plant growing in your lake: Observe: (Please record your observations) When did you first notice the plant?  Have you seen the plant in the lake in the past? Has it grown at a rapid rate?  How large is the plant and how large an area does it cover?  If you think you have found one of the four target species in your lake, please contact the VLMP office.
Maryland - The Nature Conservancy - Volunteers Are you interested in: helping the environment?  working with others who share your love of nature? contributing your time and skills to an organization you believe in? broadening your resume and life experiences?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, we've got some great opportunities for you. Volunteers help The Nature Conservancy devote a major portion of its funds to land conservation, keeping our effectiveness high and our costs low.  Volunteer opportunities include Weed Busters, Outdoor Work Parties, Planting and Maintaining Trees, Restoration Projects and Office Help.
Massachusetts Lakes & Ponds Weed Watchers Program A key goal of the Department of Conservation and Recreation's Lakes and Ponds Program is to prevent further infestation of Massachusetts 's lakes and ponds by exotic invasive aquatic plants, and to work towards controlling and removing existing populations of exotic invasive plants.
Michigan - The Nature Conservancy - Volunteers There are a variety of ways you can help the Michigan Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. Volunteers are needed to help with everything from stuffing envelopes and setting up databases to removing alien weeds, monitoring preserves and restoring native plant communities. Whether you want to help in one of our offices or in the field, during the week or on the weekends, we have an opportunity for you!  Currently needed are volunteers for Outdoor Stewardship Opportunities and Office Assistance (Marquette).
Minnesota - The Nature Conservancy - Volunteers The Nature Conservancy of Minnesota’s volunteer program provides concerned citizens with opportunities to work towards our shared goal of ecological health.  The majority of active volunteers participate in stewardship workdays at our preserves.  Please see the Calendar of Volunteer Events for dates and times of upcoming workdays.
Missouri - The Nature Conservancy - Volunteers The Nature Conservancy of Missouri has joined forces with many key Kansas City area conservation partners to form KCWildLands. KCWildLands is a coalition dedicated to protecting the area's natural communities through citizen based restoration efforts.
The group organizes and conducts an average of one restoration work day per month.  Opportunities, dates, and locations can be found at the KCWildLands website.  For more volunteer opportunities see the Events Calendar.
Montana - The Nature Conservancy - Volunteers In Montana, many Volunteer opportunities are available in various communities.  Additional help is needed in the Helena area and the areas of Pine Butte Swamp and Pine Butte Guest Ranch.
Nevada - The Nature Conservancy - Volunteers In Nevada, We have many volunteer positions, including Reduce, reuse & recycle assistant, Volunteer coordinator, Receptionist and Workday Volunteers in several areas including the Carson River.
New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services Exotic Species Program The DES Exotic Species Program coordinates activities associated with the control and management of exotic aquatic plants; as well as activities associated with the implementation of education programs and volunteer plant monitoring programs.
New Jersey - The Nature Conservancy - Volunteers Many New Jersey Volunteer opportunities are listed in the Volunteer Calendar including workdays at Willow Grove, Eldora Nature Preserve, Maurice River Bluffs, Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge and other areas.
New Mexico - The Nature Conservancy - Volunteers We've got a great opportunity for you at Bear Mountain Lodge, The Nature Conservancy's bed and breakfast and conservation education center in Silver City, NM. To learn more, check out our volunteer description.
New York - The Nature Conservancy - Long Island Invasive Species Team The Invasive Species Team is planning an ambitious array of strategic actions for the new fiscal year 2005 that begins on July 1st . Actions will take place at a variety of landscape scales and policy levels. Our goals are to abate invasive species threats to conservation targets and protect our most pristine, weed-free areas.
North Carolina - The Nature Conservancy - Volunteers North Carolina offers several Volunteer opportunities as  a Land Steward or a Prescribed Burn Volunteer in various areas near Sandhills, Southern Pines, Durham and other areas.
Ohio - The Nature Conservancy - Volunteers Many Volunteer opportunities are available in the Ohio areas of White Pine Bog Forest, Strait Creek Prairie Bluffs, Flatiron Lake Bog, Beck Fen, Kitty Todd, Strait Creek Prairie Bluffs and other areas.  You can volunteer as a Land Steward, Field Trip Leader, Crew Chief, Office Steward and helper in Outreach and Education.
Oregon - The Nature Conservancy - Volunteers Oregon has a number of Volunteer positions in the areas of Sandy River Gorge Preserve, Camassia Natural Area, Willamette Valley, Northeast Oregon and Southwest Oregon.  Positions include Field Assistants, Caretakers, Stewards, Receptionists and other job types.

Good Volunteers Need Good Tools to Work With!

Pennsylvania - The Nature Conservancy - Volunteers As the trees leaf out, migrating birds arrive, and hibernating animals emerge from their dens, humans instinctively long to get outdoors into the natural world. Spring is the perfect time to venture into Pennsylvania's wild places. Join us for some fresh air!  This spring, we have outdoor volunteer opportunities in five different counties with a variety of activities.  You can lend a hand indoors at our Conshohocken, Harrisburg, or Long Pond offices.  We can also use your help on "virtual volunteering" projects via email!
Rhode Island - The Nature Conservancy - Volunteers Many Volunteer opportunities are available in Rhode Island including Stewardship Opportunities in the area of Canonchet Brook Preserve Trail and priority landscape projects across the state. If you like to walk on the Conservancy's preserves, don't mind some manual labor and/or are handy with tools, contact Cheryl Wiitala at (401) 331-7110 for more information and to obtain a Land Steward Volunteer application form.
South Carolina - The Nature Conservancy - Volunteers Volunteer action is needed to strengthen projects like the ACE Basin, Francis Marion National Forest, and the Southern Blue Ridge Escarpment. If you indicate an interest, we will provide you with specific information and suggest appropriate actions when the need arises for you to become involved. Your level of participation will always be your choice.
Texas - The Nature Conservancy - Volunteers Volunteer Work Days are coordinated in Texas areas such as Barton Creek, Eckert James River Bat Cave, Open Preserve, Davis Mountains Preserve, Devils River Preserve, Independence Creek Preserve, Mad Island Marsh Preserve and the Texas City Prairie Preserve.
Utah Bureau of Land Management - Partners Against Noxious Weeds - What we can do There are many things public and private landowners and users can do to prevent and control the spread of weeds in Utah. The first line of defense is awareness by everyone that there is a problem and that there are solutions.  Secondly, we need to be able to identify the weeds, and the extent of infestations. Once the weeds are located, methods of treatment can be developed to address the problem.
Vermont - The Nature Conservancy - Volunteers Volunteers are needed in Vermont for water chestnut pulling, tree planting, philanthropy researching, focus group designing, Upland invasive plant early detection and control, seed collection, native plant nursery operations, general preserve stewardship (8,000 acres), office help and control of the Japanese Knotweed in the Green Mountain National Forest.

Virginia - The Nature Conservancy - Volunteers Join us on the front lines of conservation by helping the Virginia program in doing outreach, office, or outdoor work. Conservancy volunteers help minimize labor and other costs, thus increasing the efficiency of our nature-preservation work.   Projects include eelgrass restoration on Virginia's Eastern Shore, water quality monitors, birdwatchers, bird photographers and writers, fundraising and other projects.
Washington Aquatic Nuisance Species - Scuba Divers Monitoring for Aquatic Nuisance Species Washington Sea Grant Program is working with scuba clubs and individual divers to recognize and report aquatic nuisance species (ANS) -- non-native plants and animals that compete with, prey on or disrupt the lives of native marine life.
West Virginia - The Nature Conservancy - Volunteers we've got some great opportunities for you. Volunteers help The Nature Conservancy devote a major portion of its funds to land conservation, keeping our effectiveness high and our costs low.  Please contact us at (304) 637-0160 or westvirginia@tnc.org, and we’ll contact you to let you know more about our volunteer opportunities.

Weed Twister:  An Eco-Friendly Solution to Correct the Ways of Weeds!

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine Self-Help Lake Monitoring volunteers have been the backbone of water quality testing in Wisconsin since 1986. In fact, today about 650 Wisconsin volunteers invest their time and energy to help with everything from taking secchi readings that monitor water clarity to collecting water chemistry samples, taking dissolved oxygen readings and monitoring aquatic plants.  Weed watchers are trained by the Department of Natural Resources or University of Wisconsin-Extension to distinguish native aquatic vegetation from the exotics and in particular to differentiate the Eurasian variety from the seven species of native milfoil. 
Canada - Greater Vancouver Regional District Burnaby Lake Regional Park Weed Busters, a new program sponsored by GVRD Parks and the Burnaby Lake Park Association, is working to restore biodiversity in the park. To get involved with this program contact Karin or Alison at 604-520-6442 or email karin.albert@gvrd.bc.ca.

Search for Volunteer Opportunities in Your State or Country

 

More Gardening Clubs and Societies

Contact Ergonica to add your club or society to this list.

 What kind of Weeding Tool do You need?

See the Garden Tools page for a comprehensive listing of Weed Solutions including Mechanical Weeders, Weed Twisters, Weed Pullers, Weed Poppers, Weed Flamers,  Weed Removal Hand Tools, Weed Hounds, Weed Claws, Garden Weasels, Weed Hoes, Weed Whips, Weed Hooks, Weed Cutters, Weed Scythes, Weed Cultivators, Weed Diggers, Weed Trimmers, Weed Grubbers, Weed Gloves and other tools and accessories including Organic Weed Herbicides and Weed Barriers and special Ergonomic Tools for people with arthritis or CTS.

Musings of Dr. Yucca: Weeds are Great for hiding Easter Eggs!



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