New York - New Jersey Trail Conference Invasives Strike Force
Would you like to help protect our environment while you hike or enjoy our regional parks system? You can become a citizen scientist by volunteering for our Invasives Strike Force Team! Our Invasives Strike Force volunteers help spot invasive plants so that we can schedule work days to remove them. As a Strike Force volunteer, you’ll learn easy ways to identify a set of invasive plants commonly found along the trails and how to record information about their locations. You can also volunteer to help the Strike Crew on scheduled removal days!
The goals of the ISF include:
- Collecting information about what invasive plants exist and how abundant they are along our trails
- Using that information to identify areas where the removal of invasive species will allow us to prevent them from spreading into un-invaded communities
- Scheduling ISF trail crew work at those target locations and working to prevent and reverse the invasion along our trails
Seasonal ISF Conservation Corps Crew also conducts removals around the Lower Hudson region and serves as the Lower Hudson PRISM's rapid response crew.
Become an ISF Survey volunteer
Ecoquest Volunteer surveyors
New to our survey program offerings in 2019, EcoQuest surveyors utilize an easy-to-use mobile app, iNaturalist, to photodocument invasive species in our region's parks and trail systems. The uploaded photos are used by our scientific team to track the distribution of invasives in our region and help determine best management practices. For more information on this program and to learn about the monthly Ecoquest challenges (a scavenger hunt version of our Ecoquest program that keys in on two focal species for that month), please visit our ISF Ecoquest website. To become an Ecoquest survey volunteer, please register here.
Standard Surveying volunteers
- Attend a 1-day training to learn how to identify 14 common invasive plants, how to collect data and how to use a GPS
- You will be assigned a trail section (~2 miles long)
- Walk the trail while identifying and mapping these invasive plants.
May 9, 2020: 9am-3pm at Trail Conference HQ in Mahwah
May 16, 2020: 9am-3pm at Green Chimney's Clearpool Model Forest in Carmel, NY
May 30, 2020: 9am-3pm at the Environmental Cooperative at Vassar Barns in Poughkeepsie, NY
June 20, 2020: 9am-3pm at the New Weis Center in Ringwood, NJ
July 11, 2020: 9am-3pm at the Mamakating Environmental and Interpretive Center in Wurtsboro, NY
Intermediate Surveying volunteers
- Attend a half-day training session to learn 11 more invasive plants. Surveys are conducted along hiking trails using the same methods as in Standard surveys.
May 17, 2020: 9:30am-12:30pm at Trail Conference HQ in Mahwah, NJ
July 18, 2020: 9:30am-12:30pm at Westchester Land Trust in Bedford Hills, NY
BlockBuster Surveying volunteers
- Attend a 1-day training session to take your surveys on the road over a 3x3 mile block.
- Learn several more invasive plants and search for these as well as Standard level and Intermediate level plants using the same survey methods.
Training Workshop Dates for 2020 will be posted soon!
Become an ISF Crew, Removal Volunteer
The Trail Conference's Invasives Strike Force Crew is made up of volunteers dedicated to protecting the native habitats in our parks by removing invasive plants.
We work throughout the region from the Delaware Water Gap to eastern Bergen county in New Jersey and from Orange County and Westchester County up to Dutchess County in New York. Anyone can participate in the crew. You don't need to know anything about the plants; we provide on-the-job training. Just bring your work gloves and come help us make a real difference in the park you love.
Volunteer Workdays for 2020 will be posted soon!