Blue Ridge PRISM Inc
Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management
Blue Ridge PRISM Inc is a volunteer-driven organization dedicated to reducing the negative impact of invasive plants in the northern Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Effective invasive plant control is a community and neighborhood issue because these aggressive plants know no boundaries – flowing water, birds, hikers, vehicles, and animals scat all help to spread their seeds.
Blue Ridge PRISM Inc is a 501(c)(3) public charity.
How We Began
Blue Ridge PRISM Inc began in 2014 with Rod and Maggie Walker, landowners in Albemarle County, and Jake Hughes, Exotic Plant Management Biological Science Technician for Shenandoah National Park. Rod and Maggie were alerted to the problem of invasive plants in the Blue Ridge by the invasive bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus) vines that were strangling 15 acres of this family’s timber forest. Concerned about the economic damage posed by this invasive vine, and by the many other invasive plants that abound in this region, Rod and Maggie contacted Jake for information and advice. More people joined the conversation, and Blue Ridge PRISM was born.
Originally operating under the umbrella of the Shenandoah National Park Trust, Blue Ridge PRISM volunteers work at the local, regional, and state-level under the guidance of a Steering Committee of key stakeholders.
In 2020, Blue Ridge PRISM became a stand-alone non-profit dedicated to the same mission. We employ one full-time Program Director and one part-time Communications and Outreach Coordinator. Blue Ridge PRISM is supported by numerous dedicated volunteers and partners.
- Seasonal Workshops – the best place to start after reading information on our website where you will learn identification and treatment options
- Referrals to professional contractors who can treat the invasive plants on your property
- Financial assistance from our own grants or referrals to financial assistance from other grants and cost-sharing programs
- Consultations on our Area stewardship approach in which PRISM members who are treating invasive plants on their own properties work collaboratively with their neighbors to manage control of invasive plants. This approach creates islands of invasive-free land that protects all participants from re-infestation. As more neighboring properties join the effort, the amount of invasive-free land expands
- Free fact sheets about the most important invasive plants in our communities and how to control them
- Alerts about new invasive plants so they can be eradicated with an EDRR (early-detection-rapid-response) process through the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and by our volunteers
- Education and outreach programs such as display booths and speaking engagements intended to increase public awareness of the scale of destruction posed by invasive plants
- Volunteer opportunities for people to join invasive eradication efforts on public and private land, to act as area stewards, and to participate in education and outreach efforts
- Consultations to landowners to point out and identify the invasive plants on their properties, and to explain how to control them and how to restore the land. This service is dependent on the availability of our volunteers and after completion of one of our workshops. Note: Free consultations are usually available from both your Department of Forestry Area Forester and your local District Conservationist at the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
- Research results shared from university and other organizations
- Communication with state agencies to encourage increased funding for control measures across the state
Chesapeake Bay Foundation
Ivy Creek Foundation
Piedmont Environmental Council
Private landowners like you
Shenandoah National Park
Shenandoah National Park Trust
Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
The 500 Year Forest Foundation
The Nature Conservancy
University of Virginia – Department of Environmental Services
Virginia Cooperative Extension
Virginia Department of Conservation & Recreation
Virginia Department of Forestry
Virginia Department of Transportation
Virginia Master Gardeners
Virginia Master Naturalists
Virginia Natural Resources Conservation Service
Virginia Native Plant Society
Virginia’s First Cooperative Weed Management Area
Blue Ridge PRISM Inc is the first Cooperative Weed Management Area (CWMA) headquartered in Virginia. There are approximately 100 CWMAs in the U.S., mostly in the western part of the country. As with its western counterparts, Blue Ridge PRISM is a collaborative partnership between individuals and various private and public agencies, who work in a coordinated fashion over a wide geographical area to combat invasive species and to restore native habitats.