Volunteers and Invasive Plants: Learning and Lending a Hand link

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
America's National Wildlife Refuge System

Volunteers and Invasive Plants: Learning and Lending a Hand

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Mapping at Hobe Sound NWR, Florida

Photo of volunteers at Hobe Sound NWR learning how to use WIMS.
Volunteers at Hobe Sound NWR learn how to use WIMS. Photo credit: J Isaacs/USFWS

Hobe Sound NWR in Florida provides some of the most productive sea turtle nesting areas on the state’s east coast. Hobe Sound also contains one of the last sand pine-scrub-oak habitat remaining in Florida.

Volunteers play an important role in managing invasive plants at Hobe Sound NWR. They provide information that managers can use to make decisions at the refuge.

Refuge biologist Jackie Isaacs trains volunteers to help map and control invasive plants on the refuge. By removing invasive plants and restoring native plants, they aim to restore habitat for threatened and endangered species, such as the scrub jay, as well as for all the other native species that make Hobe Sound their home.

Isaacs and her volunteers use WIMS to record the location of invasive plants such as Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius) and Australian pine (Casuarina spp.). Using the refuge’s two handheld units, volunteers work in pairs to input data on these plants. Walking through thick brush in the wet Florida heat, volunteers record the location of every target plant they find. It is rigorous and time-consuming work but volunteers find it rewarding because they are helping protect wildlife and habitat.

Lean more about this refuge:
Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge

A map created at Hobe Sound NWR using WIMS. WIMS data collected by volunteers at Hobe Sound NWR were used to create this map, which shows the location of invasive Australian pines. Photo credit: USFWS