Invasives Strike Force honors its top 5 volunteers of 2012

Invasives Strike Force honors its top 5 volunteers of 2012

We would like to thank all of our Invasives Strike Force volunteers who contributed to our accomplishments this season; however special thanks go to the following 5 volunteers who surveyed more than 10 miles of trail.

Sona Mason

Sona Mason is a returning volunteer from last year. Sona was a top volunteer last year as well, helping with training workshops, trail crews and surveying many miles of trail. This year she surveyed or helped survey over 24 miles of trail at Storm King State Park, Blauvelt State Park, Buttermilk Falls, and Teatown Lake Reservation in New York, and Allamuchy State Park, Norvin Green State Forest, Long Pond State Park, Worthington State Forest, and Lost Brook Preserve in New Jersey. Sona also helped at an ISF trail crew at Bear Mountain State Park. Sona is currently a trail supervisor for maintainers at Storm King State Park.

"I found the ISF experience both perturbing and very satisfying: Perturbing because I now notice how much of our ostensibly natural landscape is overwhelmed by invasive species, and satisfying to be a part of the solution to this problem. As our parks departments are too short of funding and staff to be able to remove invasive species, it is gratifying to know that volunteers can step in and make a difference."


Karl Soehnlein

Karl is a new volunteer this year. Karl surveyed 13.4 miles of trails in Palisades Interstate Park and Closter Nature Center in New Jersey and Buttermilk Falls Park in New York.  Karl also helped at an ISF trail crew work day at Flat Rock Brook Nature Center and has recently taken on a trail maintainer position at Lost Brook Preserve.

"Being a part of the Invasive Strike Force was both educational and recreational.  I learned a great deal about invasive plants in our area and how they are crowding out and replacing native plants and, thereby, changing the biodiversity of the forests.  Additionally, it was a great way to get outdoors, exercise, and become more familiar with my surroundings."


Greg Smith

Greg is a new volunteer this year. He has surveyed 14.6 miles of trails in Ringwood State Park, Silas Condit Park, Mountainside Park, Pyramid Mountain Natural Historic Area, and Norvin Green State Forest in New Jersey. Greg worked with his friend Khah Nguyen on some of his surveys and with his daughter Erika on others.

"This work has made the forest come alive for me in a whole new way.  At long last I am not missing the trees for the forest! I hope the work we are doing here results in a more sustainable and enjoyable trail system for other outdoor enthusiasts and will serve as an inspiration for the creation of other such groups around the region and the nation.  Without this effort it seems some of the historic native diversity within our parks may soon be lost for good."


Susan Predl

Susan is a new volunteer this year. She surveyed 11.9 miles of trail in the Delaware Water Gap, Jenny Jump State Park, and Stokes State Forest in New Jersey.

Susan says, "I definitely learned to identify some species more confidently than I ever have before. While I thoroughly enjoy hiking, and think I have hiked many if not most of the trails in NJ, I like 'being forced' to go hike some trails that I wouldn't have otherwise explored and some that I didn't even know existed. That trail in Stokes State Forest was beautiful. Sometimes we need a kick to get out into the woods and enjoy it."


Peter Johnson

Peter is a returning volunteer from last year. Peter completed 11.5 miles of trail surveys in Goose Pond Mountain State Park, Clausland Mountain State Park, Harriman State Park, and Hook Mountain State Park. Peter also assisted Anne Smith with part of her trail survey in Hook Mountain.

"The more you know about what you are walking past out in the forest the more enjoyable the hike. Thanks to you guys I have at least 25 plants down that I am not soon to forget."