The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) is seeking volunteers to participate in an invasive exotic plant workday beginning at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 12 at Lemon Gap, along the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) on the Tennessee/North Carolina border. Carpooling to Lemon Gap will be available, and those interested should meet at 8 a.m. at the ATC’s Southern Regional Office parking lot, at 160 Zillicoa St. in Asheville, N.C.
The free event, hosted by the ATC, will provide participants with an opportunity to remove non-native invasive plants and protect the native biodiversity of the Lemon Gap area. Volunteers will target the highly-invasive plant Japanese spiraea (Spiraea japonica) by pulling small stems or cutting and applying herbicide to larger stems. This work is a continuation of control efforts which began in 2011.
"Come get your hands dirty and help protect the forest ecosystems of the Appalachian Trail through the removal of non-native invasive plants," said John Odell, resource management coordinator at the ATC.
The workday will begin with a brief educational workshop to train volunteers on the importance of native plant diversity, plant identification and safe work procedures. Participants will also receive free guidebooks for the identification and control of invasive exotic plants. Afterward, the group will work along the A.T. to remove spiraea and any other invasive plants encountered.
The ATC will provide all equipment needed for the workday. Volunteers are asked to wear long sleeves, long pants and sturdy hiking boots or shoes. Participants should also bring a lunch and at least two quarts of water. Those who carpool will return to Asheville by 5 p.m.
Individuals or groups interested in volunteering or carpooling should contact Rhys Brydon-Williams at email@example.com
or by calling 828 254-3708. For more information about the workday, visit www.appalachiantrail.org/events