Join the Race Against Invasive Species!

Our natural environment is being assaulted by marauding invaders: non-native, invasive plants that don’t contribute to our native food chain and are able to out-compete our native plants. Help us stem this attack by joining our first annual Race Against Invasive Species and help our native plants win out.

Callery pear

Identify an area where plants that are invasive to Virginia are growing and make a plan to eliminate them. Take a before and after picture and share it with us to enter periodic drawings for great prizes including native plants donated by the Plant SWVA Natives Campaign and tokens for the Blacksburg Farmers Market donated by us. We will also shower you with praise for your efforts.

Work can be done on your own property or at a local invasive species removal project. We will be sharing details about volunteer opportunities. Garlic mustard and English ivy are good plants to start with for beginners. Some plants require professional help, but we don’t care if you call in the professionals. If you’re removing invasive plants, you can enter our drawings!

The race starts now and although the race against invasive species is ongoing, our local race ends September 30. You can also enter to win a literal race to see who can remove the most invasive plants. Keep track of either the square footage of the area cleared and/or the number of plants removed and report it to us. Make it more fun by creating a “race name” for yourself. We will have a grand prize drawing with prizes TBD.

Rules of engagement:

  1. Participation is at your own risk.
  2. Beware of poison ivy at all times. Although it is a native plant, it can often be found traitorously cozying up with the invasives.
  3. Obtain permission before working on any land other than your own.
  4. Be sure you know what you are removing and that it is indeed invasive. A list of resources can be found below.
  5. Although homeowners may use professionals, the businesses themselves are not eligible for our prizes.
  6. Submit your pictures through our Sustainable Blacksburg Facebook page or via email to sustainableblacksburgva@gmail.com.

A list of the plants that are invasive in Virginia can be found at https://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural-heritage/invsppdflist. The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation also has a collection of invasive species fact sheets at https://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural-heritage/invspfactsheets.

The Blue Ridge PRISM (Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management) has invasive species management resources on their website at https://blueridgeprism.org/.

Some invasive plants have native look-alikes so be sure you know what you’re removing. A helpful online resource can be found at https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/nrcs144p2_024329.pdf.

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