For more than a decade, The Friends of Mt. Tabor Park Weed Warriors have been dedicated to the preservation of a Portland treasure. A 2005/2006 survey found that 94% of the natural areas of Mt. Tabor Park were in poor or severely degraded ecological health. Through long hours, over hundreds of weekends, thousands of volunteers have worked tirelessly to beat back invasive species that have overtaken native vegetation.
Beginning with only a handful, a growing number of Weed Warriors are now painstakingly removing invasive plants, such as English ivy, Himalayan blackberry and clematis vitalba, in areas where they can only be removed by hand in order to preserve existing native plants. Over the last three years, the Weed Warrior effort has grown from 381 to 2479 volunteer hours. Critical to its success has been: inspiration from early leaders such as Tony Cole, Nora Hanna, Darvel Lloyd and Gayle Marechal, the extraordinary efforts of Mary Kinnick, program coordinator, the creative leadership of part-time volunteer service coordinator Alexa Todd, the 18 crew leaders who oversee groups of volunteers, and the close working partnerships with Portland Parks and Recreation, the Bureau of Environmental Services, Warner Pacific College, Mt. Tabor Middle School Cedar Lodge, Hands on Portland, SOLVE, and others.
The FMTP Weed Warriors is an outstanding model of a community-based, volunteer-driven environmental stewardship program committed to helping the community learn more about the importance of native habitat restoration while offering volunteers an opportunity to be part of the solution.