Volunteers wage War on Invasive Plants
On a cloudy Saturday morning on July 9, about 130 volunteers, including the 12 member Team BLM, gathered at Valley of the Moon Park for the first Anchorage Weed Smackdown, a statewide campaign to protect Alaska’s native environment from the dangers of invasive plants.
Invasive plants are aggressive non-native plant species that out-compete native plants for growing space. Unchecked they can quickly kill native plant species. The invasive plants under attack during the Weed Smackdown were European bird cherry trees (Prunus padus) , that are poisonous to moose.
As the cool summer day warmed up the weed warriors made a serious dent in the number of European bird cherry trees by uprooting them with a weed wrench. After lunch there was an awards ceremony, followed by clean-up. “It was a really successful event,” states Laurie Thorpe a member of Team BLM. “We couldn’t have done it without the help of all the dedicated partners, especially Allegra Hamer who works with the BLM through the Anchorage Cooperative Weed Management Area. We’re really lucky to have people like her involved.”
— Sheila Sine
A group of volunteers use a weed wrench to uproot a European bird cherry tree during the first Annual Weed Smackdown. Photo by Laurie Thorpe.
Team BLM! (Front Row L-R) Brad Muir, Christine Brune, Teresa McPherson, Elise White, Laurie Thorpe and Adriana Fisher. (Back Row L-R) Jeff Brune, Paul Krabacher, Geoff Beyersdorf, Bud Cribley, and Damon Hampel.