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Invasive Weed Removal

Soon after plants start growing in the spring, staff and volunteers turn their focus to controlling herbaceous invasive weeds. Certain weed species, if left unchecked, can push out native species of plants and completely change the natural ecology (plants, pollinators, birds, mammals). Garlic Mustard, Dame's Rocket, Common Reed (Phragmites australis), Wild Parsnip, and Japanese Hedge Parsley are a few of the common invasive species found in the park system. Volunteers use the right tools at the right time to strategically reduce, track, and manage weed populations making a huge impact on the park system.

Details & Requirements

Volunteers should be comfortable with walking on uneven terrain through various kinds of vegetation (grasses, flowers). Staff can often times accommodate those who would prefer to stay to the edge of a mowed path and get weeds along path edges. 

Bathroom availability varies by park. View the Open Restrooms webpage for more information. If there is no bathroom at a workday site, either use one before the workday or ask staff to suggest a nearby public location.

Youth under 16 years old are allowed to attend with an adult chaperone, and youth ages 16-17 can volunteer independently with a Volunteer Registration Form (PDF) signed by a Parent/Guardian.

??????Invasive Weed Removal Workdays occur on Tuesdays and Fridays between May - July.
  • Events are typically posted in April.

General: 

  • Water: Volunteers should bring their own water. Staff provide bottled water as a backup.
  • Snacks: If you'd like to have a snack during the workday break, please bring something for yourself. Bringing a treat to share with others is welcome (if that is something you enjoy). Staff often try to provide snacks during these workdays.

What to Know:

  • All tools and materials are provided for workdays.  
  • Volunteers use either a "Parsnip Predator" to cut weeds or remove them by hand. 

What to Wear: 

  • Volunteers should wear close-toed shoes, and dress for the weather. Clothing that is breathable and fully covers the skin is best. Walking through a prairie or woodland is itchy.
  • A hat and sunscreen are recommended. Bring bug spray if bugs bother you.

Independent Volunteering:

If you are interested in independently working on invasive weed removal at a specific Dane County Park location(s), the Natural Areas Program invites you to become a Dane County Parks Certified Land Steward. Land Stewards coordinate directly with park staff to create annual workplans that help to build on each other's work and tie restoration efforts together.  

Volunteer-led Workdays:

Many of the Dane County Parks Friends Groups and Certified Land Stewards host Invasive Weed Removal Workdays independently from park staff. Some volunteer leads may choose to use different methods or tools compared to staff-led workdays. These workdays may be held on other days and times throughout the year. Check the Event Calendar for additional volunteer opportunities.  

Directing questions to the workday leader is encouraged. 

 

 

Questions? 

Contact:
Dane County Parks Volunteer Program 
(608) 516-3703
parksvolunteer@danecounty.gov