One might think State Parks’ Invasive Species Staff are sitting around with their feet up, taking a break from the relentless tasks of the summer field season. That’s not at all the case. Winter months are filled to the brim with “To-Do” Lists. The seasonal break in the field season allows for more office related tasks, such as wrapping up the previous field season, checking data for quality control, working with volunteers, and prioritizing, planning, and preparing projects for the upcoming field season. These tasks require significant collaboration with other Park staff, NY Natural Heritage Program (who provides data and advice on protecting rare species and natural communities) and other agencies involved in invasive species management. But putting in the effort and office time early in the season truly pays off to make for a successful field season.
For the summer of 2015, we had two Invasive Species Strike Teams and one Forest Health Specialist Team working on State Park lands. The two strike teams each covered half the state, the Eastern Team covering from Long Island to Lake Champlain. The Western Team covered the State Parks west of the Binghamton-Syracuse line. The Forest Health Specialists also focused on Western NY, coming as far east as the Finger Lakes Region.
Check out what we accomplished this past year!
That is a lot of effort, both on the planning end, and by our hardy crew members! Without the hard work and commitment to excellence of our seasonal staff, the program would accomplish only a tiny fraction of our goals. Their eyes on the ground keep us informed of the details of each treatment area and provide us with feedback on the success or any recommendations for further actions. We listen closely to feedback from the crews and other Parks staff and partners to continue to improve and strengthen the Invasive Species Program each year.
So even though there is snow on the ground and temperatures are cold, we are still working on invasives issues and preparing for what we hope to accomplish in the upcoming field season.
For more information on the State Parks Invasive Species Strike Teams, see this blog post.
For more information on the State Parks Forest Health Specialists, see this blog post.
Post and photos by Alyssa Reid, State Parks Invasive Species Field Project Specialist