My sketchbook of the top 24 invasive plant species in Austin, Texas
As the Invasive Hunter, I always have to keep my skills sharp, so on a Saturday in May, I attended an invasive species workshop at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. This workshop was designed especially for citizen scientists who are working with the city of Austin as part of the Austin Invasive Plants Management Plan.
The city of Austin and the Invaders of Texas Program teamed up to train local volunteers how to identify and monitor invasive plants. Citizen scientists who volunteer with this program get to work side by side with city staff to develop a map of where invasive plant species are located, and the city of Austin will use this map to determine how to best treat or remove the invaders.
Learning up close how to identify invasive plants
Ms. Jessica Wilson, Wildland Conservation education manager with the city of Austin, welcomed us to the workshop, and Ms. Jessica Strickland, Invasive Species Program Manager with the Wildflower Center, gave a great talk about invasive species in Texas and those around Austin, the Invaders of Texas Program, and how to report sightings of invasive species online and through the TX Invaders mobile app.
Top 24 invasive plant species in the city of Austin
We learned about the top 24 invasive plant species in Austin from samples in the Wildflower Center’s library, and got to know them better by being able to see them, feel their leaves and other identifying features, and sketch samples of them to help us remember them when we’re out in the field.
A sample of kudzu, a nasty invasive species
The top 24 invasive plants in Austin cover herbaceous, woody, vines, and aquatic species and include my nemesis, the Giant Reed (Arundo donax)!
We practiced identifying sample invasive plants in a field outside of the Wildflower Center
Besides polishing up my knowledge about invasive plants, I also got to spend some time with other citizen scientists (excuse me, future invasive hunters!) and staff from the city of Austin who were a lot of fun.
Commander Ben and Austin invasive species volunteers getting ready for action
The workshop I attended was part of a series of volunteer workshops that the city of Austin and the Wildflower Center have been holding during the spring of this year.
Here is a great video all about the day created by the City of Austin:
Their goal is to train 180 citizen scientists who are willing to volunteer time during the summer monitoring season. The next Invasive Species Identification and Monitoring workshop is coming up this weekend, June 8 and 9. Don’t miss out because this is the last workshop for the season!
I look forward to seeing you in the hunt for invasive species! 🙂