Help Us Improve Habitats
Who We Are
Plant Patrol is an all-volunteer group in Indiana County, Pennsylvania. We are looking for people who would like to get involved and help combat invasive weeds in our county. We have plans to work on invasives at different locations in Indiana including our county parks, Yellow Creek State Park and other local sites. No experience is needed. Work will involve pulling weeds and small bushes in most cases. Time will vary from one or two hours to a half day for any one event. We can supply the equipment needed. If you are interested in helping, sign up to become a volunteer.
Why Invasive Plants Are Harmful
Invasive plants are species that are growing outside their native range and that cause or are likely to cause environmental or economic harm, or harm to human health. Many invasive plant species disrupt the food web. Most herbivores are adapted to eat only native plants. For example, 90% of caterpillar species specialize on eating only a select number of native plant species. Monarch caterpillars eating milkweed is the most popularly-known example. So when invasive plants displace native ones, herbivore populations decline and so do the populations of animals that feed on herbivores. Among North American terrestrial bird species, 96% feed insects and other invertebrates to their young. These specializations are a contributing factor to the continental decline in insect populations and bird populations.
Progress to Date
Plant Patrol had 69 volunteers spend 416 person-hours treating 12 invasive species during 23 work events at 11 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, YMCA of Indiana County and Yellow Creek State Park. The following table shows the total quantity of each invasive species treated.
|Common Name||Scientific Name||Total Treated|
|Autumn Olive||Elaeagnus umbellata||116 shrubs|
|Barberry Bush||Berberis vulgaris||1,215 shrubs|
|Burning Bush||Euonymus alatus||2 shrubs|
|Honeysuckle shrub||Lonicera spp.||583 shrubs|
|Japanese Stiltgrass||Microstegium vimineum||2 bushels|
|Knotweed||Polygonum spp.||4,052 sq yards|
|Mile-a-Minute Vine||Persicaria perfoliata||20.5 bushels|
|Multiflora Rose||Rosa multiflora||638 shrubs|
|Purple Loosestrife||Lythrum salicaria||3 bushels|
|Thistle||Cirsium spp.||10 bushels|
|Tree-of-Heaven||Ailanthus altissima||634 stems|
|Water Chestnut||Trapa natans||137 bushels|