Invasives Strike Force: Protecting Native Habitat

Welcome to the Trail Conference Invasives Strike Force

A multi-organizational partnership in volunteer monitoring and management of invasive plants along hiking trails

The Trail Conference's Invasives Strike Force (ISF), started in 2011, is a project is born out of the ideas, learning and experiences of a joint project between the Trail Conference and Rutgers University from 2006-2009 that was supported by the USDA (US Dept. of Agriculture) to better understand the spread of invasive plants in forested parklands.

Project goals

  • We need to collect information about what invasive plants exist and how abundant they are along all our trails.
  • We will use this information to identify areas where removal of invasive species will allow us to prevent them from spreading into un-invaded communities.
  • We will schedule trail crew work at these target locations and work to prevent and reverse the invasion along our trails. 

What do invasives volunteers do?

Volunteers are the core of the Invasives Strike Force. We have two types of volunteers: surveying volunteers who survey trails and their surrounding lands for invasive plants, forest pests, and rare and endangered plants,  and removal trail crew volunteers who work to manually remove invasives along the trails.

Surveying volunteers

  • As an Invasives Strike Force Surveyor volunteer you will be required to attend one of several 1-day training workshops held in late spring/early summer to learn how to identify 14 common invasive plants, how to collect data for the ISF and how to use a GPS unit or the Avenza Maps app. GPS units can be borrowed from the Trail Conference or you may use your own. 
  • After completing training, you will be assigned to a trail section (~2 miles long).
  • You will be expected to walk your trail section while identifying and mapping these invasive plants.  This data collection can be completed within one outing or over several trips until you feel confident that you have identified all of the target species along your trail, but should be completed by the end of the summer.
  • After you have completed your trail section, you can ask to have another section assigned to you.  You can map as many trail sections during the season as you have time for.
  • Or, you may prefer to grow with us! Learn the second set of invasive species and move on to the Intermediate Surveyor level.

Removal volunteers

Removal volunteers are members of the Invasives Strike Force Trail Crew which holds removal workdays around the region. Volunteers learn on-the-job and anyone can participate. 

Get Involved

Join the Project as Surveyors, Removal trail crew, Seasonal crew

Where can you work?

Check out the list of parks in New York and New Jersey that you can choose to help survey.

Seasonal Conservation Corps Crew Positions

Our Invasives Strike Force volunteers are supported during the summer by our seasonal Conservation Corps crew which helps train volunteers, lead removal work days and carry out additional removal projects with our park partners.

Resources for Volunteers

About Invasives - the invasives issue
Training Materials, Data Collection Protocol, and Returning Your Data

Questions? Contact Us

  • For questions about the Invasives Strike Force project, plant id, trail assignment, data collection procedures, training or this website, contact: Brent Boscarino.
  • For issues related to use of the GPS unit (either a borrowed unit or your own), contact: Jeremy Apgar at 201-512-9348 x815
  • To get added to the Invasives Strike Force volunteer mailing list and receive monthly news about what's going on, Contact Krysti Sabins.