Citizen Science Program Offers Opportunities to Monitor Invasive Plants

WEST GLACIER, MONT. – Glacier National Park's Citizen Science Program announces two opportunities to help with early detection of invasive plants along park trails: a Noxious Weed Blitz on July 21 and an online training course for the Invasive Plants Citizen Science program. Both opportunities are free of charge and open to the public.

Glacier National Park's Citizen Science Program teaches volunteers to identify and map invasive plant species. (NPS Photo)

The sixth annual Noxious Weed Blitz will take place on Tuesday, July 21 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., meeting at the park's community building in West Glacier. Participants will be trained to assist the Invasive Plant Management Program by learning to identify, map, and pull invasive plants. A free lunch will be provided by the Glacier National Park Conservancy. Be prepared to spend the afternoon in the outdoors, pulling invasive plants. Please bring gloves for hand pulling, footwear for hiking, and drinking water. Please RSVP if you would like to attend.

An online training opportunity teaches participants how to identify five targeted invasive plants, conduct surveys, and map locations of invasive plants using GPS units. Once training has been completed, visitors may check out GPS units from the Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center to detect invasive plants while in the park. The online training program can be accessed HERE.

The Invasive Plant Management Program at Glacier manages non-native invasive plants that displace native flora, interrupt ecological processes, or degrade natural scenery. Most infestations of invasive plants in the park are closely correlated to disturbed areas such as roadsides, recreational areas, and construction sites. However, the 700 miles of backcountry trails also provide a corridor for invasive plants to spread. Monitoring these trails is often difficult.

The Citizen Science program uses volunteers to help study the plants and animal life in Glacier National Park (NPS Photo)

In 2008, the Invasive Plant Management Program and Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center established a citizen science program to enlist the help of the public to map the spread of invasive species in the backcountry. The Citizen Science Program is supported by the Glacier National Park Conservancy, fostering stewardship while providing critical baseline information on common loons, mountain goats, pikas, and invasive plants. For more information on the Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center click HERE.

Attending the Noxious Weed Blitz or completing online training enables participants to continue monitoring invasive plants during future hikes in the backcountry. To sign-up for the Noxious Weed Blitz or learn more about the event please contact the Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center at 406-888-7986.