Volunteers Join The Fight Against Invasive Species This June

We are busy bees this year! From mosquito surveillance to drone projects to collaborative environmental programs—it’s a little crazy and we love it. 

At first glance it may seem like our staff is only devoted to our typical projects—spraying weeds and killing mosquitoes. Our summers (and off seasons) involve so much more than that. We believe that Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is the best solution to our county’s weed and pest issues—and it’s a philosophy that fits our values. We’d like to share some of our recent projects that fit into the education and outreach component of our organization.

Jackson Hole Weed Management Association (JHWMA)  - Volunteer Day at Coburn Meadow on S. Fall Creek Road

On June 17th we were able to collaborate with JHWMA to mechanically remove thistle and houndstongue in a beautiful meadow in the Bridger-Teton National Forest. 

Between 9am and noon volunteers worked hard to keep our invasive species at bay. The project was led by Kate Gersh from the Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation and Deb Williamson from BTNF. Coburn Meadow is a site that volunteers and staff from JHWF intend to revisit from here on out.

Jackson Hole Weed Management Association - High School Butte Invasive Species Removal with Volunteers from Hawaii

The day after the Coburn Meadow volunteer project, our Education Program Coordinator Meta Dittmer led a service project removing invasive species from High School Butte. With the help from Teton Science School, the Service Project Coordinator, Jessamyn Biette and three other TSS staff, twenty-two highschoolers from a private school in Hawaii helped us tackle the weeds in town. 

The 11th graders studied invasive species in science class and were excited to learn about the invasive plants in Wyoming. They, alongside the leaders and three high school teachers, removed cheatgrass, spotted knapweed, and dalmatian toadflax for about 2 ½ hours. Although the work was physical, the teens loved it! They didn’t expect the work to be so fun. Even the teachers enjoyed the project and plan to come back next year—hopefully this is just the first of many.

Astoria Day Camp - Invasive Plant Removal with Camp Jackson and Coombs Outdoors

There’s no age limit or minimum on who can help protect our ecosystem—that’s one of the best parts about our volunteer opportunities!

On June 19th and 21st elementary-aged kids learned about native and invasive plants at Astoria, spent 1 ½ hours pulling weeds, and concluded their hard work with a soak at the hot springs. 

  • June 19th - fourteen third graders and five instructors from Camp Jackson protected Astoria by removing common mullein and houndstongue.
  • June 21st - fourteen third graders, ten fifth graders, and four instructors from Coombs Outdoor camp pulled common mullein, houndstongue, and black henbane.

The project was such a successful learning experience that TCWP and Astoria Park Conservancy plan to do another volunteer day on July 17th. Don’t underestimate how much kids can help! Kids are the future—especially when it comes to environmental stewardship. 

Jackson Hole Middle School and Trout Unlimited Field Day

Seventh graders were able to join in a yearly trout education program. This event was the culmination of a year-long program run by Trout Unlimited. 

Between 9am and 2pm the students visited the National Fish Hatchery and Shooting Star Resort to learn about cutthroat trout and the issues surrounding their survival. One of the topics covered was Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS)—how they get here, how they spread, why this can impact cutthroat trout populations, and what we can do about it.

Students were given hands-on experience with AIS surveillance. During the program the seventh graders checked a boat, kayak, and fishing gear for AIS. Now they’re prepared to check their own gear and Drain-Clean-Dry before they go into any body of water!

Our very own Meta Dittmer and Boots Allen from the Snake River Fund led this successful field day.

Have any questions or ideas for our outreach program? Let us know! We love to be present in our community and lead these amazing environmental programs each year.