UACES Facebook Volunteers sought for invasive plant removal
skip to main content

Jan. 31, 2020

Volunteers sought for invasive plant removal

By Ryan McGeeney
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Fast Facts:

  • Exotic invasive plants can alter stream hydrology and ecosystem function
  • Exotic invasives cause more than $130 billion annually in damage in the United States
  • Chinese privet is one of the top five exotic invasive plants in Arkansas by percent land coverage

(341 words)
(Download this story in MS Word format here.)

LITTLE ROCK – The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is seeking volunteers to assist in removing Chinese privet, an exotic invasive species plant, as part of the Arkansas Watershed Stewards Program on Feb. 15.

Chinese Privet

The event is being held at the Cooperative Extension Service headquarters, located at 2301 S. University Ave. in Little Rock from 9 a.m. until noon. The invasive plant removal event will allow participants the opportunity to learn more about the impacts of invasive plants, their associated environmental and water quality impacts and recommended methods of treatment and removal.

The event will also allow an opportunity for volunteers to directly improve the environmental quality of Coleman Creek, a tributary to Fourche Creek and the Arkansas River. Among the improvements volunteers will be able to make for the local environment are increased pollinator habitat, stream bank stabilization, and natural forest regeneration.

John Pennington, extension water quality educator for the Division of Agriculture, said invasive species can rob available natural resources from native plants, and tend to thrive when none of their natural predators are present.

“It’s amazing how many undesirable impacts that exotic invasive species like Chinese privet and others can have on our environment,” Pennington said. “Thankfully, there are people in central Arkansas like Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists, specifically, who want to tackle the problem.”

Volunteers will also be able to contribute to citizen science by establishing invasive plant removal demonstration sites where effectiveness of treatments will be measured over time.

Partners in the event include the University of Arkansas Master Gardeners, Arkansas Master Naturalists, the Arkansas Natural Resources Division, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Volunteers are encouraged to wear long sleeves and to bring their work gloves.

To learn more about participating in the Chinese privet removal event, invasive plants in Arkansas, or the Arkansas Watershed Steward Program, contact Extension Water Quality Educator John Pennington at or visit

To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit Follow us on Twitter at @UAEX_edu.

About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system. 

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution.  If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact John Pennington at 501-671-2195 as soon as possible.  Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay. 


# # #


Media Contact: Ryan McGeeney
Communication Services
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2120