Other Similar Groups
There are initiatives across the United States and abroad that address invasive species. The National Park Service has a program to combat invasive plants. Volunteers have been used in other regions of the country to eliminate or reduce invasive plants. Weed Wrangler is a volunteer group in Nashville, Tennessee, that has sparked a national movement. Weed Wranglers organizes volunteer work parties on public and non-profit green spaces and provides educational outreach. Grassroots efforts throughout the country have replicated their model. For example, in 2013, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation created eight Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISMs) covering the state. This program has been quite successful. The Governor of Pennsylvania enacted the Invasive Species Council of Pennsylvania in 2004 and reenacted it in 2017. The council proposed the formation of six PRISMs in Pennsylvania. Their proposal is awaiting legislative funding.
How We Got Started
Barb Hauge, a landscape architect in Indiana, PA, was inspired by these efforts around the United States. In early 2022, she approached Cindy Rogers, Ellen Yerger, and Ed Donley, asking them if they were interested in starting a group to combat invasive plants in Indiana County, Pennsylvania. The four of them soon hatched plans to conduct a few work events in 2022 at Tanoma Wetland and at Blue Spruce County Park. The bulk of the volunteers were ecologically-minded students from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. A few other volunteers, recruited by word of mouth, joined them. Informed by their initial experiences, the group was ready to launch on a larger scale. They asked Monica Lee from the Indiana County Conservation District to join them. In late winter and early spring 2023, these five began to expand their volunteer recruiting to the community and they developed their Web site.