Two dozen students, faculty and alumni participated last week in Weed Wrangle 2015, a new event of Invasive Species Awareness Week. Inspired by national and international efforts now underway, Weed Wrangle Nashville represents a new push to stem the tide of biological pollution in local communities. The goal is two-fold: restoration and preservation. Organizers seek to raise awareness of the “green scourge” before more native plants lose the fight for the light and nutrients they require to survive. The Feb. 28 Weed Wrangle event was a one-day, citywide, volunteer effort to help rescue public parks and green spaces from invasive species through hands-on removal of especially harmful trees, vines and flowering plants.
Dr. Darlene Panvini, professor of biology/environmental science, said, “Getting students outside and engaged in exotic plant removal makes the problem more real and less abstract. Students also had a chance to meet the staff at the park while visiting one of Nashville’s treasures – Shelby Bottoms Park and Greenway. Since many of the students who participated in the plant removal were not science majors, this experience was a way to educate more people about the impact of non-native invasive species on native ecosystems.”
Student Katelyn Keast said, “It was rewarding to see the difference we made in such a short amount of time. The participants now know how to stop the problem of invasive species, and I hope they all enjoyed being outdoors and helping the environment.”
Weed Wrangle was the conclusion of a week-long series that included a convo on campus that served as the kick-off event to Invasive Species Awareness Week. The presentation by Steve Manning of Invasive Plant Control Inc. focused on the topic, “Introduction to Invasive Species in Tennessee: Forming a Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area to Combat Invasive in Tennessee.”