During a small ceremony held at the Monongahela National Forest Office in Elkins, several local residents were presented an award from the Eastern Region of the U.S. Forest Service.
These individuals were recognized for their work as members of the Potomac Highlands Cooperative Weed and Pest Management Area.
Award winners include Cynthia Sandeno, Kent Karriker, Fred Huber, Cindy Huebner, Andrea Brandon, Amy Cimarolli, Keith Fisher, Clark Owen and Mike Powell, Rosey Santerre, John Schmidt, Biologist, Linda Carnell, Robert Radspinner, Walt, Tim Tomon, Rachel Braud and Steve Neithamer.
In the back row are Kent Karriker, Forest Service, Fred Huber, Forest Service, Clyde Thompson, Forest Service, Barb McWhorter, National Resources Conservation Service, and Tim Tomon, state Department of Agriculture; second row: Cynthia Sandeno, Forest Service, Whitney Bailey, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Keith Fisher, The Nature Conservancy, Evan Burks, Forest Service, and Walt Kordek, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources; first row: Caroline Dunlap, AmeriCorps Member, and Mike Powell, Andrea Brandon and Amy Cimarolli, The Nature Conservancy.
The CWPMA is a partnership of federal, state and local agencies, community associations, nonprofit organizations and private land owners, who have come together to combat non-native invasive species.
Over the past two years, the CWPMA has worked with over 35 organization and 150 private landowners to restore forests, farms and other lands that have been degraded by non-native invasive species.
"Our efforts are focused on the headwaters region of the South Branch of the Potomac River in West Virginia," said Kent Karriker, forest ecologist on the Monongahela National Forest. "This area is home to extensive forests, rivers, and rare species and habitats such as caves. Nonnative invasive species threaten all of these resources."
One of the CWPMA's key strategies to successfully managing invasive species was the creation of an on-the-ground field crew that treats invasive species on both private and public lands.
"Protecting resources across jurisdictional boundaries is critical to this organizations success," said Kent. The field crew has treated over 3,400 acres of high priority lands in West Virginia during the last two summers.
In addition to treating invasive species, one of the most important functions of the CWPMA is increasing awareness about why these species are a problem. The group uses a variety of methods including public workshops, billboards, field tours, community meetings, educational events, and by sharing informational resources.
In May, the CWPMA worked with the mayor of Elkins, Van Broughton, to declare an "Invasive Species Awareness Day." And they have been hosting garlic mustard pulls across the state.
To learn more about these events and more, please visit www.facebook.com/PHCWPMA.