Help Us Improve Habitats

Who We Are

Plant Patrol is an all-volunteer group in Indiana County, Pennsylvania. We are looking for people who would like to get involved and help combat invasive weeds in our county. We have plans to work on invasives at different locations in Indiana including our county parks, Yellow Creek State Park and other local sites. No experience is needed. Work will involve pulling weeds and small bushes in most cases. Time will vary from one or two hours to a half day for any one event. We can supply the equipment needed. If you are interested in helping, sign up to become a volunteer.

Why Invasive Plants Are Harmful

Invasive plants are species that are growing outside their native range and that cause or are likely to cause environmental or economic harm, or harm to human health. Many invasive plant species disrupt the food web. Most herbivores are adapted to eat only native plants. For example, 90% of caterpillar species specialize on eating only a select number of native plant species. Monarch caterpillars eating milkweed is the most popularly-known example. So when invasive plants displace native ones, herbivore populations decline and so do the populations of animals that feed on herbivores. Among North American terrestrial bird species, 96% feed insects and other invertebrates to their young. These specializations are a contributing factor to the continental decline in insect populations and bird populations.

Progress to Date

Plant Patrol had 74 volunteers spend 485 person-hours treating 13 invasive species during 25 work events at 11 locations in Indiana County. Those locations are Blue Spruce Park, Ghost Town Trail, Hoodlebug Trail, IUP South Woods, Jimmy Stewart Airport, Pine Ridge Park, Pond Near Smicksburg, Tanoma AMD Wetlands Educational Site, White Township Recreation Complex, YMCA of Indiana County and Yellow Creek State Park. The following table shows the total quantity of each invasive species treated.

Common NameScientific NameTotal Treated
Autumn OliveElaeagnus umbellata117 shrubs
Barberry BushBerberis vulgaris2,051 shrubs
Burning BushEuonymus alatus4 shrubs
Honeysuckle shrubLonicera spp.896 shrubs
Japanese StiltgrassMicrostegium vimineum2 bushels
KnotweedPolygonum spp.4,052 sq yards
Mile-a-Minute VinePersicaria perfoliata20.5 bushels
Multiflora RoseRosa multiflora1,091 shrubs
PrivetLigustrum spp.68 shrubs
Purple LoosestrifeLythrum salicaria3 bushels
ThistleCirsium spp.10 bushels
Tree-of-HeavenAilanthus altissima634 stems
Water ChestnutTrapa natans137 bushels

Upcoming Events

White's Woods Nature Center

  • Sat, April 6, 10:00 am – 12:00 noon