Take Only Memories…and Noxious Weed Data

Learn about our 2014 Wilderness Weed Watchers program.
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July 11, 2014

Hello! I’m the Mountaineers new intern for the summer. My name is Nate Brown and I’ll be supporting our Citizen Science Program – Wilderness Weed Watchers. We’re teaming up again this year with Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and the King County Noxious Weed program to help monitor some of our much beloved wilderness areas for weed invasions.

Invasive weeds like Orange Hawkweed and Herb Robert have been slowly making their way into our wild places over the years. While some of them may look pretty, many invasive weeds will often displace native plants, leaving an environment with less biodiversity than before. Plants form the foundation for most ecosystems providing food and shelter to many animals and insects. The displacement of our native plants in their natural alpine setting by invasives threatens that very foundation which can send ripple effects throughout the whole ecosystem.

I’m passionate about our wild places and I’m currently in grad school studying community-based conservation - how to work with communities (like you!) to help address environmental issues. I believe engaging communities to help solve these sorts of problems can not only help the places we love so much, but also offer us a new connection to those places as individuals and members of a community. Citizen science programs like the Wilderness Weed Watchers provide the opportunity for people to become more engaged with the places they love, in this case looking for invasive weeds while in the backcountry, recording a little bit of data about the type, amount and location, and turning in that data for review by the Forest Service so they can manage the land as appropriate. In return, we become intimately familiar with our wilderness areas; we get to know them not as static postcard pictures, but living, breathing, dynamic places that are both fragile and resilient.

We ran our volunteer training in June, in partnership with King County and Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. If you are interested in participating and couldn't make the training, we'd still like to have you involved in the program! We plan to have a few group outings this summer that you can join to learn from others, and we have resources on weed identification that we can help you with here at the Seattle Program Center. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us: or . I hope to see you out there!

I’m excited to be a part of this program. I’m looking forward to knowing my public lands a little better and collecting data so that they can be better protected. And I’m especially looking forward to working with those of you who are so passionately involved.