Protecting Native Habitat

Welcome to the Trail Conference Trail and Ecology Program

A multi-organizational partnership in volunteer monitoring and management of invasive plants along hiking trails - These programs kick off each spring.

The Trail Conference's Trail and Ecology (T&E) Program (formerly Invasives Strike Force (ISF) Surveyor Program), started in 2011, is a project is born out of the ideas, learning and experiences of a joint project between the Trail Conference and Rutgers University from 2006-2009 that was supported by the USDA (US Dept. of Agriculture) to better understand the spread of invasive plants in forested parklands.

Invasive species are defined as:

1) non-native to the ecosystem under consideration and,

2) whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.


Project goals

  • We need to collect information about both forest health and how abundant certain invasive species are along all our trails.
  • We will use this information to work toward better management practices as well as possible opportunities for forest restoration

What do T&E volunteers do?

We have two types of volunteers: surveying volunteers who survey trails and their surrounding lands for invasive plants, forest pests, and rare and endangered plants, and removal trail crew volunteers who work to manually remove invasives along the trails.

Surveying volunteers

  • As a T&E volunteer, you will be required to attend 2 training workshops held in late spring/early summer to learn how to identify specific invasive species/certain native species affected by forest pathogens, and how to collect data and report it to iMapInvasives. 
  • After completing training, you will be assigned to a trail section (~2 miles long).
  • You will be expected to walk your trail section while identifying and mapping these species. This data collection can be completed within one outing or over several trips until you feel confident that you have identified all of the target species along your trail, but should be completed by the end of the summer (before October).
  • After you have completed your trail section, you can ask to have another section assigned to you. You can map as many trail sections during the season as you have time for.

Removal volunteers

Removal volunteers are members of the Invasives Strike Force Trail Crew which holds removal workdays around the region. Volunteers learn on-the-job and anyone can participate. 

Get Involved

Join the Project as T&E Volunteers, Removal trail crew, Seasonal crew

Where can you work?

Check out the list of parks in New York and New Jersey that you can choose to help survey.

Seasonal Conservation Corps Crew Positions

Our Invasives Strike Force volunteers are supported during the summer by our seasonal Conservation Corps crew which helps train volunteers, lead removal work days and carry out additional removal projects with our park partners.

 

Resources for Volunteers 

About Invasives - the invasives issue

Questions? Contact Us

  • For questions about the Invasives Strike Force project, plant id, trail assignment, data collection procedures, training or this website, contact: Brent Boscarino.
  • For issues related to use of the GPS unit (either a borrowed unit or your own), contact: Jeremy Apgar at 201-512-9348 x815
  • To get added to the Invasives Strike Force volunteer mailing list and receive monthly news about what's going on, Contact Krysti Sabins.