Alaska's first annual Weed Smackdown event occured in 2010 in Fairbanks inconjunction with Weed Awareness week to help contain the spread of invasive, non-native plants and educate local residents about common invasives like white sweetclover, perennial sowthistle, bird vetch, narrowleaf hawksbeard, and foxtail barley. These non-native plants that spread aggressively (invade) and out-compete native plants for growing space. Some plants, like European bird cherry and reed canary grass, can harm moose, birds, or salmon, while others, like Canada thistle and giant hogweed, can harm people with thorns and cause rashes.
There are three Weed Smackdowns occurring in Alaska this year. Each offer a friendly competition among teams comprised of members from community organizations, businesses, and unaffiliated individuals who all have one thing in common: the desire to spare Alaska the economic and ecological impacts of invasive plants. Anchorage, Fairbanks, and the Kenai Peninsula will be competing to see who can recruit the most participants. Volunteers will work with agency biologists to pull or dig out invasive plants, and they will be rewarded with T-shirts, a free lunch, and donated prizes at an award ceremony with sponsor recognition.