PlayCleanGo Blog

Finding a Passion and Career In Invasive Species Management

May 17, 2019 1:20:35 PM / by Ethan Proud

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Growing up active in school sports, I never had very much time to develop any hobbies and as a result I wasn’t sure what major I wanted in college-let alone a career for the rest of my life. I went in undecided, declared my major as psychology, switched to social work, but nothing really stuck. I worked at a hardware store during the summer and that didn’t help me make any decisions about my future.

Luckily for me, one of my friends suggested I apply at the Sublette County Weed and Pest (SCWP) District as a seasonal employee and make more money than I currently was. Always a sucker for a few more bucks, I applied and lo and behold I got the job. I knew nothing about invasive species and equated the job to something akin to landscaping. When our supervisors started our training and we sat through a slew of presentations on pesticides, applicator safety, and plant ID, I started to wonder what I had gotten myself into. 

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Boot Brush Stations: Are they effective?

May 1, 2019 11:00:00 AM / by Chris Evans

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Boot brush stations are becoming more and more popular as a tool to both raise awareness about invasive species and to reduce the spread and establishment of new infestations. Often placed at trailheads, these boot brush stations offer education about local invasive species while inviting outdoor enthusiasts to remove foreign material including seeds that can be stuck on their shoes BEFORE and AFTER their adventure into the forest.

This type of spread prevention practice is similar to equipment cleaning, using only local firewood, and inspecting boats at ramps. Spread prevention aims to change behaviors to eliminate even the slightest opportunity for an invasive species to establish.  This type of management avoids the costs and time of controlling or eradicating intact infestations.

But, are boot brush stations really effective?

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April Showers bring Invasive May Flowers

Apr 18, 2019 10:42:00 AM / by Hannah Bowers

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In grade school, do you remember the decorated classroom doors? Each door had its own personality, distinct and characteristic of the teacher’s class. Looking back, one door in particular has been wedged in my brain. It was a colorful spring door that read, “April showers bring May flowers – but what do May flowers bring?” I’ve thought about this many times. Nothing has fit perfectly, until now!

April Showers bring Invasive May Flowers, but what do May flowers bring? Summer tourists, recreational activities, and the threat of spreading those invasive species - no one asked for that!

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The Road Less Traveled

Apr 4, 2019 9:15:00 AM / by Krista Lutzke

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Land managers and natural resource groups invest heavily in invasive species control efforts to protect and maintain healthy biodiversity of native flora and fauna. However, obtaining that same level of commitment from right-of-way managers can be a different story. The highway department’s plan is simple - mow before plant material becomes a hazard!

For me, that was the beginning of my struggle! We don’t have the same goal for the resource, let alone speak the same management language. Have you had this same struggle; trying to figure out how you can get commitment from the highway departments to help mitigate such a complicated and cumbersome issue?

Well, here I am to walk you down the road less traveled, sharing techniques that worked for us!

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Raspberries and Redemption: Remembering the Origins of our Passion

Mar 19, 2019 10:00:00 AM / by Belle Bergner

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Sometimes connecting the dots in what we enjoy in life happens in unexpected ways. I wonder how many people say that their passion for working to protect and restore our environment came from a paper towel.

On my first camping trip at the age of 11, I was canoeing the Fulton Chain of Lakes in the Adirondacks. Our instructors were giving us our first lessons in how to clean our dishes after dinner. We were told to put our used paper towels in the trash and that this trash would be carried with us until we carried it out of the wilderness.

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Why Invasive Species are Like a Bad Boyfriend or Girlfriend

Mar 4, 2019 8:03:00 AM / by Hannah Bowers

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As I was summiting Twin Sisters in Colorado, I felt like I was on top of the world! Emotionally, because there’s nothing better than hiking in the mountains, and literally because I was standing on an 11,427 ft. peak.

Then my mind drifted to more unpleasant thoughts—my annoying hiking partners also known as, invasive species. Particularly, I started to worry about how to properly clean off my hiking gear – my shoes, my socks, my pack, my clothes! I wanted to avoid tracking dirt, seeds and those illusive invasive species on an airplane, across the country, back home to Alabama. I needed to drop them like a bad habit, dump them like a bad boyfriend (or girlfriend).

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What In The World Are Invasive Species?

Feb 15, 2019 2:39:49 PM / by Hannah Bowers

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What’s ‘bugging’ you? Or what’s invading your space? Seems like a simple question when asked on a personal level. But if someone were to ask about how “invasive species” bug us or our surroundings many of us draw a blank. So let’s talk “Invasive Species 101” and how you can help protect the places you love.

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