The War on Weeds
As suburban sprawl covers the land around Valley Forge National Historical Park, the park becomes increasingly important as a refuge for native plants and animals. The habitats in the park, including oak/poplar forests, meadows, wetlands, water, and forested floodplains, support over 1,000 different kinds of plants and 300 animal species.
Approximately 1/3 of the plants in the park are non-native. Thirty of these non-native plants also are considered invasive or 'weedy' species that will or are likely to cause significant environmental or economic harm and/or pose a threat to human health. Non-native, invasive plants are our target in the 'war on weeds.'
Why We Fight
The spread of non-native, invasive species is one of the leading causes of ecosystem degradation and loss of biodiversity world wide. These plants tolerate a wide range of environmental conditions, such as temperature, shade, and moisture. They possess traits that allow them to spread rapidly, such as prolific seed production and rapid growth rate. Additionally, the predators, parasites, and diseases that keep these species in check in their native lands are not present here.
The negative impacts that non-native invasive plants have on native plants and animals is called biological pollution or biopollution. At Valley Forge invasive plants are considered a direct threat to natural resources because they:
But, What Can I Do?
Volunteer as a park Weed Warrior and participate year-round in activities to remove different types of non-native, invasive plants. 'Weed' removal is accomplished using mechanical methods such as hand pulling and cut and cover, and may involve the use of hand tools. This is great for both groups and individuals. Participants should come prepared to get down and dirty!
All ages are welcome and park staff will provide necessary training and equipment, including gloves and eye protection. Participants should wear long pants, a long sleeve shirt and closed toed shoes such as hiking boots.
Receive a Weed Warriors button the first time you participate, and earn a Weed Warriors t-shirt after you participate three times!
How to Join
The Dates for Fall/Winter 2017/2018 are:
Sat, Dec 2
January - June: Times TBA
Some dates fill up quickly, so sign up early! - The best way to reserve your space is to email the Natural Resources staff directly at the email below.
Last updated: November 20, 2017