Teen Weed Spotters
Teen Weed Spotters is a cooperative program between Benton SWCD and OSU Extension Services, Benton County 4-H. Teens in grades 10-12 participate in a series of hands-on training sessions to learn about invasive species that threaten local habitats in Benton County. Youth who participate do not only gain knowledge of invasive plant species that occur in various habitat types on private and public lands in Benton County, but they learn about the environmental and economic impacts of weeds and discuss techniques for prevention, maintenance/management and eradication.
The pilot Teen Weed Spotters took place in 2011 in Alsea. The Alsea Watershed Council, with support from Benton SWCD, received a State & Private Noxious Weed Grant Administered by Oregon Department of Agriculture. The Alsea Weed Removal, Awareness and Prevention (AWRAP) project was designed as the pilot Teen Weed Spotters program to educate select high school students on invasive plant identification, have them perform manual removal of Spanish Heath, and also map and remove Meadow Knapweed and False Brome. The students followed up their efforts in the field by creating brochures for Landowners and Hunters, making display boards and presenting their work at the Alsea School homecoming dinner, to the Alsea Watershed Council, the Alsea School Board, and the County Commissioners. Additional support for this project was provided by OSU Extension Service, Benton County 4-H, Alsea School, USDA Forest Service, and Benton County.