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, then from the Indiana County Conservation District, to join them. In late winter and early spring 2023, these five expanded their volunteer recruiting to the community and developed their Web site.

Progress to Date

Plant Patrol had 115 volunteers spend 625 person-hours treating 15 invasive species during 31 work events at 12 locations in Indiana County. Those locations are Blue Spruce Park, Ghost Town Trail, Hoodlebug Trail, IUP South Woods, Jimmy Stewart Airport, Pine Ridge Park, Pond Near Smicksburg, Tanoma AMD Wetlands Educational Site, White Township Recreation Complex, White's Woods Nature Center, YMCA of Indiana County and Yellow Creek State Park. The following table shows the total quantity of each invasive species treated.

Common NameScientific NameTotal Treated
Autumn OliveElaeagnus umbellata212 shrubs
Barberry BushBerberis vulgaris2,461 shrubs
Burning BushEuonymus alatus5 shrubs
Garlic MustardAlliaria petiolata20.5 bushels
Honeysuckle shrubLonicera spp.1,185 shrubs
Japanese StiltgrassMicrostegium vimineum2 bushels
KnotweedPolygonum spp.4,052 sq yards
Mile-a-Minute VinePersicaria perfoliata20.5 bushels
Multiflora RoseRosa multiflora1,436 shrubs
PeriwinkleVinca spp.15 bushels
PrivetLigustrum spp.118 shrubs
Purple LoosestrifeLythrum salicaria3 bushels
ThistleCirsium spp.10 bushels
Tree-of-HeavenAilanthus altissima634 stems
Water ChestnutTrapa natans137 bushels

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