Adopt-A-Spot is an exciting new program available to CA’s certified Weed Warriors. The program recognizes spots in open space where Weed Warriors have been removing non-native invasive plants and replacing them with native plants through repeated Pull and Plant Events. The Adopt-A-Spot program also provides Weed Warriors with the opportunity to work with CA staff and select new spots to begin the process of removing unwanted non-native invasive plants and replacing them with more desirable native plants.
The Columbia Association’s (CA) Weed Warrior Program was established in 2013. The Weed Warrior program supplements CA’s efforts to remove non-native, invasive plant species on designated CA open space properties. The program trains and certifies interested residents who wish to lead volunteer groups to remove non-native invasive plants in open space. The program is working cooperatively with the University of Maryland Extension Services and Howard Community College to provide in-class and outdoor field training to certify leaders. The training involves a 4-hour class room session and a 4-hour field session.
Weed Warriors are trained in hand tool safety, personal protection against insects and toxic plants, non-native invasive plant identification and removal techniques, and appropriate native plants as replacements. Certified volunteer leaders, who complete CA’s training program and meet specific requirements, may supervise and “lead” groups of volunteers onto the open space to perform specific, designated invasive weed removal tasks. Weed Warriors may also work independently if that is their preference.
The goal of the Adopt-A-Spot program is to recognize areas undergoing invasive species management, and to provide an avenue for residents to become stewards of a manageable section of Open Space.
Weed Warriors volunteering to adopt a spot will be asked to commit to removing non-native invasives from the adopted site two times a year and to continue to revisit for at least three years. In conjunction with Howard Community College, CA will continue to provide training for new Weed Warriors and continued support for certified Weed Warriors.
CA will provide hand tools, gloves, contractor trash bags, and first aid materials for Pull and Plants. Volunteers will bag pulled material or stack larger material for pick up by CA staff. CA will provide appropriate native plants or seed for the area cleared.