The Weed Warrior Program was developed to meet the goal of assisting City staff by creating a new corps of trained volunteers focused on removing invasive plants in City parks and natural areas. This program looks to train volunteers in invasive plant identification and removal techniques, and then engage these volunteers in hands on removal days to gain additional experience. The end goal is to have empowered volunteers from this program independently, with some guidance, removing invasive plants from City parks and natural areas in order to improve wildlife habitat and native plant biodiversity.
The program kicked off in 2017 and was focused on invasive removal efforts in City Center Park. This park was in the final stages of plan development, and invasive plant removal was part of a permit requirement for the project. Staff brought on Mike Bald, owner of Got Weeds?, to assist staff in the training and planning of invasive removal in the park. The method of removal utilized by volunteers includes hand pulling and cutting. The City has even partnered with the State Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation to borrow and use weed wrenches that assist in removing larger invasive plants (specifically large buckthorns).
To-date, Weed Warriors have included various members of the community, members of various Vermont Youth Conservation Corps crews, students from Frederick H. Tuttle Middle School during their Tuttlefest volunteer day, and Stantec Consulting Services volunteers. Volunteers and our consultant have removed all kinds of invasive plants from City Center Park, Red Rocks Park, Wheeler Nature Park, and Underwood, including: common and glossy buckthorn, honeysuckle bush, multiflora rose, Oriental bittersweet, phragmites, wild parsnip, garlic mustard, amur maple, and burning bush. As removal work continues, monitoring these sites for new populations of invasive plants and regrowth of impacted plants becomes a priority. Weed Warriors are key players in the monitoring phase of the City's long-term invasive plant management approach.
This page will provide you with information on how to become a Weed Warrior, overviews of removal seasons, and resources on invasive plants.