by Lisa Wallace, Executive Director

I was walking with Jeannette Halderman the other day, near our office. We had decided to have a meeting-in-motion instead of a sitting-down meeting. Unbeknownst to me, as we walked she was looking at every bush, flower, and shrub we passed (Jeannette is a botanist).

Image: Star thistle blossom.  A highly invasive destructive plant. It’s rampant in other parts of California but because their infestations in the Truckee watershed are small, they can still be stamped out easily, like sparks blown ahead of a wildfire. Credit: TRWC.I noticed a thistle, but I didn’t see it, I just walked past and kept talking. A few yards later, there was a clump of flowering shrub-like plants but again, I didn’t actually see them, didn’t pause or consider them, I just moved on. It took until the set of “new” plants before I interrupted our conversation and said, “Hey, Jeannette, aren’t these weeds?”

It’s like when we feel the need to yell ‘surprise’ at a surprise party. Because we have blinders on – we are distracted from noticing what’s right in front of us.

But, these innocent-looking weeds are intruders—invasive, non-native species that disrupt our native habitats. Weeds are so common, it’s easy to pass them right by, not realizing we need to do something.

The answer is focus. Help us eliminate star thistle, musk thistle, and other most-wanted weeds by understanding how to spot and report them when you are out enjoying the Truckee watershed.

Let’s see and remove invasive plants before they spread more seeds. Weed Warriors provides hands-on training and work days.

The people who are the very best at noticing what’s happening notice because they’re looking.

You can make an important difference just by looking.

Thank you to the donors of the Truckee River Watershed Council, The Martis Fund, Cal-IPC, and California Department of Fish and Wildlife for supporting Weed Warriors.

Thank you to Deborah Croyle of the Weed Warrior Steering Committee for help with this post.