Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Help Protect The Roan Highlands And Appalachian Trail By Removing Invasive Exotic Plants

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) is seeking volunteers to participate in an invasive exotic plant workshop on Saturday May 7, 2011 at the Roan Highlands. There is no charge for the event, and participants will receive free guidebooks for the identification and control of invasive exotic plants.

The workshop, hosted by the ATC and the Southern Appalachian Cooperative Weed Management Partnership (SACWMP), will educate hikers and the general public about the threats of invasive exotic (IE) plants, how to identify and inventory IE species, and how to remove these plants, protecting native biodiversity along the Trail.

The Roan Highlands have lovingly been called the “Crown Jewel of the Southern Appalachians”. Roan is home to over 800 plant species, 27 globally-rare plant communities, and 33 rare species. Roan has the highest concentration of rare species found along the entire Appalachian Trail, and invasive-exotic plants are one of the greatest threats to its fragile ecosystems.

Volunteers will target coltsfoot, wild chervil, garlic mustard and other weeds which are known to occur in the Roan Highlands. Participants should meet at 10:00 a.m. at the Carvers Gap parking area on NC 261 / TN 143 (Carvers Gap, NC 28705). The morning will begin with a brief educational workshop that includes distribution of guidebooks and other materials useful for the identification and management of IE plants. Afterward, the group will work along the A.T. and nearby roads to map and control any IE plants that are encountered.

The ATC will provide all equipment needed for the workshop and inventory. Volunteers are asked to bring lunch, two quarts of water, rain gear, sturdy hiking boots or shoes, and clothes appropriate for hot or cold weather. Carpooling is available from the Forest Service Building in Asheville (160A Zillicoa St.) leaving at 8:15 a.m. on Saturday and returning to Asheville by 6:00 p.m.

Individuals or groups interested in volunteering or requiring more information should contact John Odell with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy as soon as possible by e-mailing or calling (828) 254-3708.


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