Want to become an anti-weed warrior? Join Benton Soil and Water Conservation District (BSWCD) to help tame the threat from local weeds. No, BSWCD isn’t joining the marijuana debate; they take on invasive plant species that push out native plants and cost tax payers a head-spinning amount of money. BSWCD has been providing the Weed Spotters class since 2009, a free event for people to learn to identify and eradicate weeds to help slow their spread. Participants can then use their newfound knowledge in all kinds of volunteer positions to undercut the threat of invasive plants.
“The US spends billions of dollars a year in weed control,” says Heath Keirstead, who is a part of BSWCD’s Education and Outreach department. “After prevention, the second most cost-effective strategy to keep our landscapes healthy is to spot invaders early—when populations are very small—and to address them quickly. Having an army of informed, active volunteers is essential to protect our beautiful Willamette Valley habitats.”
The class already has 19 registered attendees, but there’s no maximum limit. Participants can also use the information they learn to help “make good choices when selecting new plants for their gardens,” maintaining their yards, and recognizing weeds while recreating.
“At the May 18 training, we will review a smaller number of plants (probably 10 to 15), learn which plants to report and how to report them, and get volunteers to sign up for one or more volunteer efforts to help control the spread of invasives in Benton County,” Keirstead says. The class runs on Saturday, May 18 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., with lunch provided. Want to join the fight? Email HKeirstead@bentonswcde.org as soon as possible to register.
By Mica Habarad