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Outdoors ATC seeks volunteers for National Trails Day

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) is seeking volunteers to participate in two invasive exotic plant workshops on Friday, June 3, and Saturday, June 4. The second workshop coincides with 2011 National Trails Day, which encourages all Americans to get outside, experience, appreciate, and help to protect our valuable natural resources and recreational opportunities.

The workshops, hosted by ATC and the Southern Appalachian Cooperative Weed Management Partnership (SACWMP), will educate hikers and the general public about the threats of invasive exotic (IE) plants, how to identify and inventory IE species, and how to remove these plants, protecting native biodiversity along the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.

On both days, volunteers will target multiflora rose, Japanese stiltgrass, Chinese privet, autumn olive and other weeds which are known to occur around Stecoah Gap. There is no charge for the event, and participants will receive free guidebooks for the identification and control of invasive exotic plants as well as a SACWMP T-shirt in appreciation for their efforts.

On both days, participants should meet at 10 a.m. at the Stecoah Gap parking area on NC 143 (7 miles east of Robbinsville). Each morning will begin with a brief educational workshop that includes distribution of guidebooks and other materials useful for the identification and management of IE plants. Afterward, the group will work along the AT and NC 143 to control any IE plants that are encountered using manual and chemical controls. Volunteers are only asked to participate in one of the workshops, but are encouraged to attend both days if possible.

ATC will provide all equipment needed for the workshop and control projects. Volunteers are asked to bring lunch, two quarts of water, rain gear, sturdy hiking boots or shoes, durable pants and long sleeve shirts. Carpooling is available from the Forest Service Building in Asheville (160A Zillicoa St.) leaving at 8:15 a.m. Friday and Saturday, returning to Asheville by 6 p.m.

Individuals or groups interested in volunteering or requiring more information should contact Julie Judkins with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy as soon as possible by e-mailing jjudkins@ appalachiantrail.org or calling (828)254-3708.

About the Appalachian Trail Conservancy

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy mission is to preserve and manage the Appalachian Trail – ensuring that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow, and for centuries to come. For more information, visit www.appalachiantrail.org.


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