These weeds were made for wranglin’

Carol EvansFun Outdoors

At deadline, Saturday’s forecast did not call for rain. Fingers crossed, that will remain the case because Saturday, March 2, is going to be a big day o’ wrangling. Weed wrangling, to be exact.

The fourth annual Weed Wrangle-Knoxville is a citywide effort to help remove invasive species at several popular outdoor destinations around town. This year, volunteers will work from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Baker Creek Preserve, Collier Preserve at Beaver Creek, Ijams Nature Center, Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum, Lakeshore Park and Sam Duff Memorial Park to help wrangle the pesky, non-native plants that hinder the growth of native plants in these areas.

All the rain we’ve had lately should make the work easier, but also muddier. Volunteers should dress appropriately and bring work gloves if possible.

The invasive plants that we will tackle were likely introduced for agriculture or landscaping decades ago but threaten our native trees, plants and wildlife today. Although many of them have beautiful blooms and scents, they can upset the natural balances of the places we enjoy hiking, biking and playing.

With direction from experts in invasive weed management, volunteers will take the necessary steps to restore Knoxville’s landscapes to a healthy, native ecosystem. Our work will not only make a difference on these properties but will also help prevent invasive species from spreading to other private yards and public spaces.

Through the Weed Wrangle, volunteers will learn what it takes to free an area of invasive plants and the impact they can have on our ecosystem. By spreading the word about best practices, we will begin to establish a community that is knowledgeable about caring for the native plants in their own yards and the spaces we all share throughout East Tennessee.

Weed wrangling won’t stop at the city limits. Seven Islands State Birding Park is having a Weed Wrangle Privet Party starting at 9 a.m. at the boat launch. Call 715-630-6848 for info. Seven Islands recommends wearing sturdy clothing including long-sleeved shirts, closed-toe shoes and work gloves if you have them. They also recommend bringing water and a snack.

Several other state parks in the area will also be holding Weed Wrangles. They are all 9 a.m.-12 p.m. unless otherwise noted:

Cove Lake State Park, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Info: 423-566-9701. Water and gloves will be provided.

Fort Loudoun State Park, at Tellico Blockhouse. Info: 423-420-2331. Be prepared to pull, cut and carry small shrubs. Volunteers must be at least 12 years old. Bring work gloves and water.

Frozen Head State Park. Info: 423-346-3318. Volunteers will remove privet from the grounds of the 200-plus-year-old Stonecipher Kelly House. Bring water and a sack lunch.

Norris Dam State Park. Info: 865-426-7461. Meet the park ranger in the parking lot of Shelter #2. Work gloves, drinking water and eye protection recommended.

Panther Creek State Park, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Info: 423-587-7046. Meet at Spoone Shelter. We will be using hand tools. Bring gloves if you have them. Water will be provided.

For more info about Knoxville’s wrangling opportunities or to register, contact Legacy Parks Foundation at 865-525-2585 or Ijams Nature Center at 865-577-4717

The Weed Wrangle is only one part of a six-week focus Ijams is putting on conservation called “Take Action! Big and Small Ways to Save the Planet.” For more info, click here.

To check out Outdoor Knoxville’s calendar of outdoor activities, click here.


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