Friday, August 31, 2012

Photo of the day: An exotic ranger, out standing in her field

One of the humblest and most crucial jobs at Mount Rainier National Park is that of the Invasive Species Control Team. These intrepid individuas spend summer days slowly walking along park roads, keeping an eagle eye out for plants that don't belong there. Foxglove... oxeye daisy... bull thistle... all are met with a critical, discriminating eye and a firm hand yanking them out by the roots. We know by experience that a single invasive or "exotic" plant overlooked this year will turn into a field of weeds next year, crowding out the native plants. We also know that we are, ourselves, responsible for the vast majority of these invaders. They ride in on our cars, on our clothes, in the furrows on the bottoms of our boots. And finally, we know that despite our best efforts, we'll only get 90% of what's out there. But next year we'll get 90% of what's left... and 90% the next year... until eventually, the weeds are controlled, and the native plants can thrive.

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