Invasives Strike Force: Summer Crew 2016


2016 Invasives Strike Force Summer Crew

ISF 2016 Crew

 From left to right: Siena Hasbrouck, Cody Mendoza, Matt Simonelli, Michael Young


Siena Hasbrouck

With a degree in biology from Sweet Briar College in Virginia, Siena has been an avid naturalist and outdoorswoman with interests in myriapodology (the study of centipedes and millipedes), herpetology, botany, and vertebrate morphology and physiology. During the free time that Siena never has, she enjoys looking under logs and rummaging through the leaf litter to find creepy crawlies, playing a variety of musical instruments, and spending quality couch-potato-time with her dog, Junie B. Jones.


Cody Mendoza (Crew Leader)

Cody Mendoza was a member of the 2015 Invasive Strike Force crew and has been controlling invasive species for 5 years in both New York and California. He graduated in December, 2010 from SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry with a Bachelors of Science in Forest Health. Before working with the NY NJ Trail Conference he worked with The Nature Conservancy in Pulaski, New York in the Lake Ontario watershed and the National Audubon Society in Trabuco Canyon, California at the Starr Ranch preserve. He enjoys working outdoors, hiking, backpacking and foraging for plants and fungi. His professional goals for the season are to improve his botany and leadership skills. His personal goals for the season are learning archery, fishing and learning how to do the 4x4 rubiks cube.


Matt Simonelli

Matt graduated with a communications degree with a concentration on media production from William Paterson University. A few years after college he made a switch to focus on being more involved in the restoration and preservation of the environment.  His goal is to eventually use his degree at the state and national park level to create documentaries and exciting television shows, but he would also like to become a park ranger or land manager. Matt started an Americorps term with the Trail Conference in 2015 on the Taconic crew building a hiking trail to the Appalachian Trail in Fahnestock State Park. Once the season ended he stayed on during the winter as Linda Rohleder’s assistant invasive species program coordinator. Matt enjoys working outdoors, traveling, climbing high mountains, and is a thrill seeker that likes anything dangerous. He is always excited to learn new things and is looking forward to a great season.

Michael Young


Michael graduated in May of 2015 from Rutgers with a B.S. in Landscape Architecture, and a focus on ecological design.  Before joining the Invasives Strike Force, Michael has worked with the Central Park Conservancy in their Construction Department, the Township of Maplewood’s Department of Public Works as a Horticultural Lead, Rutgers Gardens as a Zone Gardener and Greenbrook Nature Sanctuary along the Palisades as a trail maintainer.  Previous to completing his bachelor’s degree, Michael had a career in corporate aviation as a Material Manager which he walked away from in order to work to improve our natural landscapes.  Michael plans to go back to Rutgers in the Fall to pursue his Master’s degree with a focus on native plant restoration and invasive species control.





Protecting parklands throughout the Hudson Valley

The Trail Conference's Invasives Strike Force (ISF), 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. Project goals include travelling to various recreational areas and preserves throughout New York and New Jersey and working to control populations of invasive species present. This will promote biodiversity and an overall more healthy ecosystem. We will schedule trail crew work at these target locations and work to prevent and reverse the invasion along our trails.

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

Bring your lunch, plenty of water, sturdy workshoes, and long pants. Tools, materials, and training will be provided.  


 Trail Crew Trips: Summer 2016


Join our crew on the trails! We're holding volunteer work days on these dates:

May 7 – Old Croton Aqueduct, Ossining, NY
May 14 – Bronx River Parkway Reservation, Muskrat Cove, Bronx, NY
May 21 - Flat Rock Brook Nature Center, Englewood, NJ
May 22 - Harriman State Park, NY - scotch broom
June 4 – Bear Mountain, NY – National Trails Day
June 11 - Wawayanda State Park, Hewiit, NJ
June 18 – Old Croton Aqueduct, Ossining, NY
July 16 - Worthington State Forest or Delaware Water Gap, NJ
July 17 – Teatown Lake Reservation, Ossining, NY 
August 7 – Stokes or High Point State Park, NJ
August 13 – Westchester Land Trust, Zofnass Family Preserve, Pound Ridge, NY
August 20 - Ramapo Mountain State Forest, Oakland, NJ
August 27 - The Invasives Project - Pound Ridge, NY


RSVP Required. Please contact [email protected] for detailed information, including meeting place and directions.


Crew Updates

Total Removal Count: 30,570 Invasive Plants! 

(as of July 7th, 2016)

May 7 – Old Croton Aqueduct, Ossining, NY


On Saturday, May 7th, 11 Invasives Strike Force (ISF) volunteers joined forces with the 2 ISF Summer Crew members to remove invasives at Old Croton Aqueduct for I Love My Parks Day. The ISF team were successful in cleaning up invasive plant species from the historic stone wall and adjacent hillside along a northern section of the OCA Trail. The piles of removed invasive plants were placed along the edges of the trail to be chipped by a wood chipper. Treated species include English ivy, Japanese honeysuckle, Oriental bittersweet, wineberry, multiflora rose, cardamine impatiens, celandine, Norway maple, and burning bush.

May 14 – Bronx River Parkway Reservation, Muskrat Cove, Bronx, NY - Corydalis incisa


On Saturday, May 14th, the Invasives Strike Force (ISF) Summer Crew was joined by volunteers to do a high priority early detection removal of this emerging invasive species, Corydalis incisa along the banks of the Bronx River corridor. Corydalis incisa has been rapidly spreading downriver.


The 4 members of the ISF Crew started their removal day at Crestwood Train Station in Tuckahoe, NY in Westchester County. There they pulled 697 plants over a gross area of 0.0411 acres. The crew focused on pulling both seedlings and adult plants, but there were too many seedlings so the tally of plants removed includes only adult plants.


At the ISF crew’s next removal location at Muskrat Cove Park  in the Bronx, they were joined by a volunteer who helped in the efforts to pull 1,227 plants over a gross area of 0.0210 acres. Here the crew focused on pulling the flowering adult plants along the Bronx River Parkway Reservation bike path.

The total removal count for the work day was 1,924 Corydalis incisa pulled over 0.139 acres.

May 22 - Harriman State Park, NY - Scotch Broom  


On Sunday, May 22nd, the ISF Summer Crew held a volunteer work day at Harriman State Park near Lake Kanawauke for an early detection removal of Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius.)  Three volunteers came out to support the crew’s removal efforts. There were many plants that had deep root systems, so the crew used a stump cut method for 573 plants.

The ISF team was successful in treating 4,011 Scotch broom plants!

June 4 – Bear Mountain, NY – National Trails Day


For National Trails Day, on Saturday, June 4th, the Invasives Strike Force Summer Crew and a group of 22 ISF volunteers got together to do an invasives removal at Bear Mountain State Park. The removal site was near the Trails for People exhibit in between the Blue Trail and the Appalachian Trail. This was a huge turnout for National Trails Day! REI gave out prizes at lunch, and every volunteer received a t-shirt.


Japanese barberry and wineberry were the most prominent species at this site, so the removal efforts were primarily focused on these two species. There were a few other species also present that were removed; these species include tree of heaven, Oriental bittersweet, garlic mustard, mugwort, multiflora rose, and burning bush. Two emerging invasive species were also treated; these emerging invasives were Japanese angelica tree and black swallowwort.


Overall, 2,570 plants were treated over 2.7743 acres.

June 6 - Bear Mountain State Parkway - Dwarf Bamboo

On Monday, June 6th, the ISF Summer Crew surveyed and initiated treatment of Dwarf Bamboo (Pleioblastus spp) along the Bear Mountain State Parkway. This population of Dwarf Bamboo is the first in New York State and is considered a priority for removal. There were four roadside sites which were controlled by our crew.


Read all about the work of the ISF crews from 2013 and 2014.