Volunteers with the Invasive Species Strike Team target New Jersey’s invasive plant life

Officials say that 150 plant species brought to New Jersey from other parts of the world are thriving – at the cost of the Garden State’s ecosystem.

News 12 Staff

Aug 16, 2022, 11:09 PM

Updated 665 days ago

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Officials say that 150 plant species brought to New Jersey from other parts of the world are thriving – at the cost of the Garden State’s ecosystem.
“One of my friends, he has an internship in an accounting firm, and he just sits there all day,” says volunteer Madeline Weeks, of Lawrence Township. “This is more, you feel like you’re having an impact and you have purpose.”
Weeks is a student at Eastern University. She is spending her summer break protecting the state’s ecosystem.
“It’s really nice to be on your feet, walking around, being with physical plants,” she says.
The volunteers are killing invasive plants around the state as part of the New Jersey Invasive Species Strike Team, which is targeting 150 non-native plant species brought to New Jersey.
“You’re degrading the ecosystem the more and more invasive species you get,” says Mike Van Clef, of Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space. “We’ve introduced these non-native plants that have run amok.”
The team on Tuesday was at the Woosamonsa Ridge Preserve in Hopewell looking for some of the plants. They have been hard at work all summer, from Sussex County to the Pine Barrens.
New Jersey is one of only two states that doesn’t have an official list of invasive plants, so the volunteers step in to help reverse the damage humans have unintentionally caused.
“We tend not to want to wait to see how bad it will get. The whole point is early detection, rapid response,” says Van Clef.
More information can be found on the Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space website.


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