Audubon to host talk by invasive plant specialist on how to control invasive plants in your backyard

ATHENS – Invasive plant specialist will discuss control measures and ecological impacts of non-native plant infestations on natural plant communities and wildlife at the Oconee Rivers Audubon Society’s next monthly meeting.

Gary Crider, invasive plant specialist and local weed warrior, will discuss various facets of non-native plant infestations: impacts on native communities, identification tips, and outline control measures for particularly pesky non-native flora when the Oconee Rivers Audubon Society holds its next meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 4, at Sandy Creek Nature Center.

Invasive plants disrupt ecological functions and reduce biodiversity. Homeowners and other citizens can play a critical role in helping prevent the introduction and spread of invasive plant species. With effective tools, techniques, and good management strategies, groups and individuals can have a real impact on the problem of invasive plants. Crider will outline how you can reduce non-natives on your property and more, which may lead to more biodiversity in your own backyard.

Gary is a team leader with the Memorial Park/Birchmore Trail Weed Warriors, a volunteer group that works to limit the spread of invasive plant species in areas across the Athens community. In recognition of his efforts with the Weed Warriors and other such organizations, Gary received the 2013 Alec Little Environmental Award, which is given annually for environmental activism and education in the Athens area.

The meeting will be held in the Nature Center’s Education and Visitor Center, 205 Old Commerce Road off U.S. Highway 441 north of Athens. To reach the center from the Loop 10 bypass, exit at U.S. Highway 441/Commerce Road and turn north toward Commerce. Go approximately a mile, turn left at the Sandy Creek Nature Center sign and go to the end of the road. Turn left at Old Commerce Road; parking for the Education and Visitor Center will be on the right.

For more information, visit, or contact Audubon chapter President Brian Cooke at or Publicity Chair Heather Abernathy at