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Bush honeysuckle is taking over, but you can help.

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The Fight Against Invasive Plants

Reflections from the 2022 Innovations in Invasive Species Management Conference & how you can help.

At first glance it can seem strange to target a plant like bush honeysuckle. Uprooting it in early winter can feel like removing the only green plant in the area. We worry about taking away food sources for birds and other small critters. But this invasive plant is actually harming a lot more than it’s helping.

Bush honeysuckle grows quickly and overpowers most plants. It chokes out native species like oaks, elms, and maples that provide great diversity in habitat and food for other animals. When we consider this, we can see how it poses a problem. Without intervention, bush honeysuckle will take over.

This past December, I had the opportunity to attend the 2022 Innovations in Invasive Species Management Conference at Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center with demonstrations at the Warner Parks in West Nashville. The conference welcomed speakers and attendees from five countries and eleven states to engage in conversations about mitigation strategies for problematic weeds and animals. The conversations ranged from presenting findings from scientific studies to updates on homegrown initiatives.

My biggest takeaway from the conference was hearing just how common it is to feel overwhelmed by the task of invasive species management. At The Land Trust for Tennessee’s Glen Leven Farm, keeping bush honeysuckle from creeping into our pastureland can feel like an enormous task. It’s easy to think “why we can’t” instead of “how we can.” But that “how” was clear to many at the conference.

Our key to removing invasive species comes from one thing: community support. When our communities stay engaged, great change is able to happen. As Dan Tompkins, a key speaker from the 2022 Innovations Conference phrased it, we can find progress “at the speed of trust.”

At Glen Leven Farm, we understand the strength of community here in Nashville and see just how vital it is for us all to do our part in protecting Tennessee’s incredible native species. If you would like to get involved in The Land Trust for Tennessee’s fight to save native plants, sign up for our monthly Stewardship Days through Hands On Nashville. You may also be interested in serving at the annual Weed Wrangle, where you can volunteer at Glen Leven or one of the other incredible sites here in our community. If you are inspired and interested in uprooting weeds in your own neighborhood and live in the Nashville area, you can rent a weed wrench from Metro Public Works.

For more ways to stay involved, please join us on our farm open day, March 11th to partake in our first Community Day of the year, “All About Invasives.” We hope you bring your families to enjoy a hike on our 1.4 miles long nature trail, greet our awesome farm crew (including miniature donkeys and cows!), and learn how you can help promote the health and wellbeing of our natural spaces by removing non-native species.

Reflection by Savanna Roaldsand, AmeriCorps Member & The Land Trust’s Conservation Volunteer Program Leader