Volunteer Spotlight, 2019

It is hard to believe that the Forest Hero! Network is fast approaching its 1st birthday! To celebrate, we'd like to share with everyone, the good work that volunteers are completing in their communities. If you are working on a project and would like to help inspire others who may be seeking ideas, please write in and we'll share in future newsletters! 

To learn more about the Network, and if you’d like to learn about other training opportunities, stay tuned to this website: https://vtinvasives.org/forest-hero-network


Joanne S.

Aside from the independent work Joanne completes tackling knotweed and purple loosestrife on her property, she more recently met with her neighbors and they are working on a presentation for a neighborhood association meeting. Their plan is to compile resources to encourage and empower others to take on invasive plant management on their lands. Go Joanne!


John M.

Along with community partners, John successfully organized 6 “Wild Parsnip battles” in his town. The work areas focused on common gathering spaces like near the school, and a public park with walking paths, sports fields, and a pavilion used for events. The organizers split up duties, someone handling publicizing, others hosting and leading the volunteers. This is a great way to keep up momentum without overwhelming any one person’s schedule! John has many great points of advice on how to run a Wild Parsnip pull event, that we can share if others are also interested in running their own. This is the second year they’ve organized these events – check out this VPR piece highlighting their efforts! Amazing work John!


Pam D. , Ann V., Chris C.

Pam, along with other Conservation Commission members, have been quite active in their community. The Commission has drafted an Invasive Plant Management Plan (great work Louise and Pam!), and organized workdays pulling chervil, garlic mustard, wild parsnip, and purple loosestrife (great work Ann and Chris for putting your muscle and time behind those efforts!! Hurrah!). And outreach can be in the simplest forms—pictured is a simple display that could be found this year in the local store, sharing how to spot garlic mustard. Way to go Pam, Ann, and Chris!

garlic mustard sign


Warren K. and Mark N.

A summer of invasive outreach in their community was kicked off in late May with a rousing presentation, attended by over a dozen people from surrounding towns. Warren and Mark shared the plans of the Conservation Commission, discussed target species for removal, and the calendar of events. This is an ongoing effort, championed by Warren, and made stronger by engaging their neighbors and community to get involved. Great job, Warren and Mark!


John K.

John has partnered with a local Park District, to help them implement their Invasive Plant Management Plan. This involved meeting with the Park District staff and building that relationship, assessment of the plants needing removal, and then completing the control work. John finds it rewarding to be directly contributing to the health of a park he cares about. He even has plans to expand work in future growing seasons to newly identified species. Pictured are barberry shrubs just leafing out this spring—a great time to do assessment as they leaf out earlier than our native plants. Thanks for getting your “hands dirty” this year, John-- amazing work!



Dottie S.

Fantastic work is happening in the southern reaches of our state. Dottie is leading the charge on a establishing a habitat restoration area, focused on knotweed management. Those involved are also working at sites that are visible to the local residents to garner attention and build awareness. Keep rocking it, Dottie!


Fred T.

Students from a local school got firsthand experience removing invasive plants in a state park in early June. They also completed the restoration cycle by planting dogwood cuttings in the area they did removal work. This effort was coordinated with Forest Hero! Volunteer Fred, an instructor at the school. The many smiling, excited faces at the end of a hard day really showed how when we demonstrate a passion for something, it’s contagious (in the best of ways!). Thanks for your work with the next generation of land stewards, Fred!


Lynn F.

Sometimes outreach can occur over a cup of coffee. Or over many peoples’ morning cuppa Joe. Lynn stepped up and compiled her personal experiences into a moving article shared in the local paper. Check out her article to learn more about an invasive plant that is important to detect early. Top notch work, Lynn!