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Healthy Forests: Invasive Plant Removal Program

Scenic Rivers’ Healthy Forests Program engages community volunteers to help protect the long-term vitality of our largest conservation easement, Bacon Ridge Natural Area.

Located in the heart of Anne Arundel County and at the headwaters of the South River, Bacon Ridge Natural Area's 1,000+ acres of forest, meadows, wetlands, and streams are under threat from encroaching invasive plant species, including English ivy, oriental bittersweet, Japanese honeysuckle, multiflora rose, autumn olive, Japanese barberry, Japanese stiltgrass, and wavyleaf basketgrass.

Invasive plants can be incredibly damaging to forest ecosystems.

From invasive shrubs that shade out native understory plants to invasive vines that can choke and pull down towering native canopy trees, invasive plants threaten the health of the forests and natural lands we are working so hard to conserve.

Program History

In 2020, Scenic Rivers took action to remediate and control the threat that invasive plants pose on the health of Bacon Ridge Natural Area.

We began by working with teams of volunteers to map and identify invasive plant infestations along Bacon Ridge’s 15+ miles of publicly accessible trails. Then in spring 2021, we launched our first season of volunteer workdays to clear and remove invasive plants from along the trails.

To date, dozens of community volunteers have helped to remove nearly 3,000 pounds of invasive vines, shrubs, and grasses across 15 acres, clearing the way for a sustainable, healthy forest for the entire community to enjoy.

2024 Workdays

Scenic Rivers hosted three public workdays during spring 2024:

  • Saturday, March 16, 2024 (10 am to noon)
  • Sunday, April 14, 2024 (10 am to noon)
  • Saturday, May 18, 2024 (10 am to noon)

We are currently planning for fall 2024 and will announce our fall schedule via our monthly newsletter, Facebook, and Instagram.

We are coordinating with corporate and community groups on a continuous basis to organize workdays for fall 2024 and spring 2025.

Feel free to contact us now to get your team on the schedule.

Volunteers will be working on designated sections to remove specific invasive plant species.

Volunteers will be trained in how to identify and remove these plants.

Work gloves and tools can be provided by Scenic Rivers, though volunteers are welcome to bring their own gear.

To participate, volunteers must:

  • Be 16 years or older to attend without a supervising adult. Volunteers age 10 to 15 may attend with an accompanying adult(s) to supervise work;
  • Be able to hike up to 2 miles to get to designated work areas.

We must have at least 5 registered volunteers for each workday to proceed. So, be sure to invite some friends!

Controlling invasive species infestations is a big job and we’ll be happy to have as much help as possible!

Company/Community/Church/Scout/School Group Workdays

Are you looking for a volunteer opportunity for your company, community, church, scout, or school group?

Spending a few hours improving the health of your local, protected forest by removing pesky plants is a fantastic way to give back. Plus, working together to tackle a big problem is a great way to connect as a group!

Scenic Rivers is eager to work with you to arrange an invasive plant removal workday at Bacon Ridge Natural Area for your group.

Our staff will provide your team with education about invasive plants and their removal, as well as the importance of maintaining forest health for our community’s well-being.

We can work with you to schedule a date/time that meets your group's needs.

Our goal is to organize 7-10 community group workdays for the spring 2024 season.

Will you join us?

Contact Stewardship Coordinator Erin Kilbane ( to learn more and schedule your group's workday.

Union Church
Union Church
Greater Baltimore Wildlife Coalition
Greater Baltimore Wildlife Coalition
Anne Arundel Community College
Anne Arundel Community College

Program Funding

The 2022, 2023, and 2024 Healthy Forests Program is supported by generous grants from:

  • BGE, an Exelon Company
  • Mars Foundation
  • Koinonia Foundation
  • Microsoft Community Empowerment Fund
  • CFAAC Environment Anne Arundel Fund
  • Annapolis Rotary Club
  • Keep Maryland Beautiful
    • Maryland Environmental Trust
    • Forever Maryland
    • MD Dept. of Housing and Community Development
    • MD Dept. of Transportation
Leadership Anne Arundel Class of 2024
Leadership Anne Arundel Class of 2024
Merrill Lynch Annapolis Office
Merrill Lynch Annapolis Office
UMD Alumni Network
UMD Alumni Network
South River High School Environmental Club
South River High School Environmental Club
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Chesapeake Bay Field Office
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Chesapeake Bay Field Office