Tag Archives: volunteer spotlight

Resolve to Serve Stories: Weed Wrangle®

Cayce McAlister remembers how different the forest looked when she was young.

“You saw tree trunks. You didn’t see all this low-level scrub,” she says. “All that green scourge you see in the woods is invasive plants.”

cayce mcalister
Cayce McAlister

McAlister says that native plants and trees don’t stand a chance in areas that are overgrown with non-native species. Invasive plants reproduce and spread quickly, often out-competing native plants. This leads to a reduction in plant diversity and the loss of habitat and food for wildlife.

Now McAlister is on a mission. A former president and longtime member of the Garden Club of Nashville, she was instrumental in founding Weed Wrangle®, an annual event where volunteers gather in parks and public spaces to remove problematic plants. The annual pull puts a dent in the problem, but McAlister says that alone won’t solve the issue of invasive plant growth. There must be public education, too.

Each Weed Wrangle® site will have an official on hand to show the participants clippings of the pesky plants to target and tell them the best tactics for removal.

“Invasive plants have no borders, and the success of our effort is affected dramatically by landscaping practices of neighbors to all of these public areas,” she says. McAlister encourages attendees to take their new knowledge home and eradicate invasive species in their own yards. Then talk to the people next door about doing the same.

In 2015, its first year, Weed Wrangle® drew more than 500 volunteers to 13 sites across Nashville. McAlister says the event has grown quickly and now exists across multiple Tennessee markets and in 13 other states. Since its inception, Weed Wrangle® has engaged 3,164 volunteers in Tennessee, who have contributed a combined 27,528 volunteer hours.

This year’s event, slated for March 2, has 20 Middle Tennessee sites where volunteers will wrangle weeds. You don’t have to be a gardener to help, says McAlister, who, as the event’s National Chair, is a full-time volunteer and travels the country spreading the seed of an idea that first took root in Nashville.

“There is a job for everyone out there. Little kids can pick up debris and drag it to the pile. Big buff people, they’re all trying to yank everything out of the ground instead of using tools,” she says with a laugh. “It’s a fun day.”

You can join the fun by browsing Weed Wrangle® opportunities here.

Interested in signing up to host your own Weed Wrangle® site? Visit the Weed Wrangle® website or email Ampage158@gmail.com.

Photos courtesy of Weed Wrangle.

 

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Volunteer Spotlight: Alex Lamers

Alex Lamers-2
Hands On Nashville volunteer Alex Lamers planting trees at Meigs Middle Magnet School during the fall 2014.

“Don’t be afraid to try something new.”

These are the words Alex Lamers recalls using as encouragement when getting involved with Hands On Nashville more than a year ago. He says they still ring true today. Continue reading Volunteer Spotlight: Alex Lamers

Volunteer Spotlight: Andy Myers

Hands On Nashville Volunteer, Andy Myers, volunteering at the Hands On Nashville Urban Farm.
Hands On Nashville volunteer, Andy Myers, volunteering at the Hands On Nashville Urban Farm.

From helping edit curriculum taught to youth at the Hands On Nashville Urban Farm to leading volunteers in garden projects, Andy Myers has served with the Hands On Nashville Urban Agriculture Program for more than a year.

Continue reading Volunteer Spotlight: Andy Myers

Volunteer Spotlight: Jackie Hansom

Hands On Nashville Volunteer Jackie Hansom
Jackie Hamson (center) volunteering with friends on MLK Day of Service 2015.

From leading hundreds of volunteers on MLK Day to helping perform energy retrofits with the Home Energy Savings Program, Jackie Hansom has long been a standout Hands On Nashville volunteer! Continue reading Volunteer Spotlight: Jackie Hansom