All posts by tcweed

What a Crew!

You have surely seen those folks clad in orange vests, carrying heavy backpacks in the sweltering summer heat, scaling the steep terrain along the roads and highways in Teton County. After passing the TCWP pickup truck with the large water tank in the back, you probably realized you were seeing the TCWP seasonal spray crew hard at work. Did you ever wonder how they came to be spraying weeds and mosquitoes in Wyoming? Where were they from? Did they plan on doing this kind of work in the future or was it just a summer job adventure in the Tetons?

I experienced some hard days in the field with our seasonal crew this summer, and found surprising answers to some of these questions.

The Summer Spray Crew is hired by TCWP each summer from May through October, to spray weeds and mosquitoes in the county. This year’s crew of 18 includes 14 “returners” who have worked on the spray crew previously, one of whom is here for his 9th consecutive season! Clearly there is something about this work that brings them back year after year.

Though the majority are in their early twenties, you may be surprised to know, they are not ALL college students on a summer job adventure. The crew also includes a college professor, a school teacher, a bee keeper, even a monk!


You might think this type of work would only appeal to those planning a career in something similar. Not necessarily. Members of this highly educated crew are studying Public Health, Philosophy, Nursing, Dental Hygiene, Exercise Physiology, Political Science and Robotics! Many have their Master’s degree and a few are working on PhDs!

So, what brings these intelligent and motivated individuals from all over the country out to Wyoming to spray weeds and mosquitoes for the summer? What keeps so many of them returning year after year? Answers include: The beautiful views while you work. The mountains. The free housing in Jackson. The great pay! Getting to work outside. The satisfaction of working for such a worthwhile mission.

All of that is great, but I really wanted to know how they were able to cope with the overwhelming tasks they were faced with daily. How did they not become discouraged by the endless swaths of spotted knapweed along the highways, and the acres of flooded fields, teaming with mosquito larvae, as far as the eye could see?


Working with them this summer, I was impressed by their contagious positive attitudes about their work. When I pointed this out, they shared clever ways of staying positive and having fun while coping with the physical and mental hardships of their work.

Many donned ear buds and listened to music or podcasts saved on their iPhones while working. Some changed tasks frequently – even just changed the weed they were spraying – to avoid burn-out. More than a few used meditation and breathing techniques to stay in a positive mental space. One espoused practicing a Buddhist philosophy of living in the present, taking one day at a time, and repeating the mantra, “all of these mosquitoes will be dead in a few months!”

We all face challenges in our work lives – some physical and some mental. When things get tough, the TCWP Summer 2017 Spray Crew reminds us to take some deep breaths, pop in our earbuds and listen to some cool tunes, and remind yourself, “this too shall pass.”

-Meta Dittmer, Office Programs and Communications Manager

PlayCleanGo While You Work – Come Clean, Leave Clean

Did you know the mud stuck in the tread of your shoes or vehicle tires can be full of plant seeds? Some of those seeds may belong to invasive plants. Therefore, it is important to clean mud and plant parts off your clothes, shoes, tires, etc. not just in the spring but every time you play or work.

The District became a PlayCleanGo partner in 2014 and has actively promoted this positive message to help protect Jackson Hole. Have you heard the message or seen it on a sign at your favorite trailhead? We hope so! We live here to play and enjoy the abundant recreational opportunities in the area. This also makes it our responsibly to take care of what we love so that future generations can enjoy the same opportunities. Invasive species are not only spread through our recreational travels, but also by actions we do every day around the valley.

As a landowner, contractor, or employee who works in Teton County, it is important to make sure your shoes, clothes, garden tools and equipment are clean of mud and seeds before working. One area of a property may have invasive plants while another area does not, and seeds and other plant parts can be unintentionally spread. If you are a landowner working with a landscaper or contractor on your property, please demand that their equipment is clean upon entering to protect your property value. Do your best to minimize ground disturbance during projects, as any exposed soil is at risk for invasive plants to establish.  Stockpiles of soil with invasive species present should be addressed so seed production does not take place. Reducing ground disturbance will also prevent spreading rhizomes of invasive plants like Canada thistle and Dalmatian toadflax throughout the area.

As you may have heard at the end of 2016, Teton County made major updates to the Land Development Regulations (LDR’s). Our simple requests above are now requirements per the LDR’s. The following are the Invasive Species Guidelines for Construction Projects.

  1. Create an inventory and management plan for all invasive species present on the site utilizing the State Designated and County Declared lists of noxious weeds, or contact TCWP to complete an inventory and management plan free of charge. Management plans shall include pre-construction, active construction, and post-construction integrated control elements as required in of the Teton County LDR’s.
  2. Clean all construction equipment thoroughly before entering the site to prevent spreading invasive seeds and plant parts into the construction areas.
  3. Minimize disturbance, as invasive species tend to establish and thrive in these areas.
  4. Routinely check and treat soil stockpiles and disturbed areas for invasive species.
  5. Conduct reseeding and revegetation in a timely fashion to prevent invasive species from establishing before desirable vegetation using seed and nursery stock in accordance with the Wyoming Seed Law (WS 11-12-101 – 125) and the Wyoming Nursery Stock Law (WS 11-9-101 – 109). The use of certified weed free gravel, hay and straw is recommended.
  6. Schedule a post-development site visit with TCWP to update the existing management plan.

Preventing invasive species from being spread in the first place is the cheapest and most effective way to keep them out of Teton County. So how do we do this? What can each one of us do to prevent invasive species from being moved from place to place? We can PlayCleanGo while we play, but we can also PlayCleanGo while we work!

Through positive actions, we can all make a difference in preventing the spread of invasive species. You can help Stop Invasive Species in Your Tracks by implementing these simple steps into your work day:

  1. ARRIVE with clean gear and equipment
  2. AVOID areas with invasive plants
  3. CLEAN off equipment, boots, clothing before moving to the next site
  4. USE CERTIFIED hay, straw and Department of Ag approved planting materials

All of us can protect Teton County and Wyoming for future generations! Enjoy the great outdoors this summer and remember to PlayCleanGo!

For further information on LDR compliance, visit us online at or contact Lesley Beckworth at

Join Us! Gros Ventre River Work Days

The Jackson Hole Weed Management Association (JHWMA) will be hosting Gros Ventre River Cooperative Spray Days July 18 – 20, 2017.

Partners in the JHWMA will team up to treat spotted knapweed, houndstongue, and Dalmatian toadflax as well as other invasive plants, which compete with native vegetation and adversely impact wildlife habitat. This multi-year project has been taking place for over 13 years.  The project area for this event is the Gros Ventre River corridor encompassing the town of Kelly, the National Elk Refuge, Grand Teton National Park and other public and private lands to the confluence of the Snake River. This project is being organized by Grand Teton National Park, Bridger-Teton National Forest and Teton County Weed & Pest District (TCWP).

The JHWMA Spray Days event is unique in that it pulls together groups from across western Wyoming.  “The goal is to contain and reduce the spotted knapweed infestation that is thought to have started on the Gros Ventre River in the 1970’s”, stated Erika Edmiston, Supervisor at TCWP. “Without this amazing group coming together for this team effort, we would be losing critical wildlife habitat to these invaders”.

Agencies and organizations that will assist in the project are:

Bridger-Teton National Forest, the National Elk Refuge, Grand Teton National Park, Teton County Weed and Pest District, WY Game and Fish Department, Teton Conservation District, Jackson Hole Land Trust, private individuals and others.  Everyone is welcome to join the effort for all or some of the three-day event. Contact TCWP for more information or to volunteer

“A lot of really great people have come together over the years to make progress on some awfully bad plants which negatively transform ecosystem function in wildlife habitat and an important elk migration area.” said Travis Ziehl, Jackson Hole Property Services.


We would like to thank the Teton Conservation District (TCD), Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) and the JHWMA for their contributions in making this event a success. To learn more about the JHWMA  please visit

Protecting Wyoming! Take A Virtual Tour

MulesEarsandGeraniumEver wonder what projects we are working on here in Teton County? What about what’s happening across Wyoming?

Take this virtual tour and learn more how the Weed and Pest Districts are working for you!

Take The Tour

We are proud to be a part of the Wyoming Weed and Pest Council (WWPC). The WWPC is comprised of 23 Weed & Pest districts in the State of Wyoming. One of the main goals of the Council is to provide coordination and leadership in the fight against designated and declared noxious weeds & pests and invasive species in the State of Wyoming. The Council works closely with the Wyoming Department of Agriculture and the University of Wyoming to keep current with the latest technology and research available in the ongoing management of noxious weeds and pests. The Council has many committees that have specific goals that help the Council meet their goals.