ENVIRONMENT: Agencies need volunteers to battle invasive weeds

A series of training workshops have been planned as the U.S. Forest Service looks to recruit volunteers to battle noxious weeds.

Volunteers are needed to help locate and remove the weeds at Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, as well as Gifford Pinchot, Olympic and Okanogan-Wenatchee national forests.

If you will be spending time hiking, boating, kayaking, horseback riding or working in these areas, and want to participate in the program, you are being asked to attend one of the sessions.

Participants in the free workshops will learn how to identify, document and eradicate target invasive species.

The workshops are being offered by the Pacific Northwest Invasive Plant Council (pnw-ipc.org). The goal of the citizen science effort is to identify areas of invasive plants, and gather basic data on the plants’ location and population numbers, so the council can inform land managers of their presence.

Volunteers who attend the trainings are asked to commit to at least two surveys during the 2014 field season at the monument or in the national forests.

“Volunteers can really make an important contribution to our efforts to protect our public lands,” Tom Mulder, monument manager, said in a news release.

The Early Detection Rapid Response Program is a joint effort by the National Forest Foundation, U.S. Forest Service, Washington Department of Agriculture and local conservation groups, Mulder said.

Get involved

Training workshops will be held:

Friday: 1–3:30 p.m. at the Gifford Pinchot National Forest Headquarters, 10600 NE 51st Circle, Vancouver, Wash. Check in at the front desk, and staffers will direct you.

Saturday: 9:30 a.m.-noon at the Cowlitz County Administration Building, 207 Fourth Ave. N., Kelso. Meet in Room 300.

June 28: 9:30 a.m.-noon at the Naches Ranger Station, 10237 U.S. Highway 12, Naches. Enter through back door of the building.

Seating is limited at each location. Reserve a spot by contacting Julie Combs at pnw.ipc.org@gmail.com or call 615-812-5295.