Environmental Volunteers Overview

Nature Volunteers

Removing Invasive Plants

Reston’s Habitat Heroes have worked for years removing invasive exotic plants that have taken over the native vegetation in our natural areas. Some of the plants we have focused on removing are Oriental Bittersweet, Chinese Wisteria, Japanese honeysuckle, Bush honeysuckle, Bamboo, and Garlic Mustard

Invasive plants reproduce rapidly, spread over large areas of the landscape and have few, if any, natural controls to keep them in check. These plants often produce large numbers of seeds, spread aggressively by runners or rhizomes and often disperse seeds away from the parent plant through various means such as wind, water, wildlife and people. Sometimes they spread from neighbors yards and seriously threaten local ecosystems, taking away vital food and habitat from our native wildlife populations. 

Our dedicated and hard-working volunteers often do more than remove plants. They also replant many natural areas with attractive and important native ferns, wildflowers, shrubs or trees. Not only are the volunteers removing plants but also adding beauty and food for our songbirds and other wildlife with native plants. So this name change reflects the true nature of the work that is being done in our community. Our Habitat Heroes will continue to work on restoration projects on our natural areas. 

For more information or to volunteer, contact Ha Brock, Volunteer Reston Manager, at habrock@reston.org or 703-435-7986.

Habitat Heroes Program

Reston Association needs volunteers like you to help rescue Reston’s beautiful parkland from aggressive plants. Please join us and spend a couple of hours in our parkland protecting our natural areas. We meet the fourth Saturday of each month from 10 a.m.-noon during the months of March-November, except August.

You don’t need to be an expert to assist in protecting our forests and help us restore Reston’s forests to their natural state. RA's volunteering opportunities each month provide you with all the training you need. Habitat Heroes do a lot of invasive removal year-round. In the fall, we also focus some of our efforts on replanting of shrubs and trees, as it is the best time of year to plant for maximum survivability and site success.

For all projects: Please wear long sleeves and long pants to protect against biting insects, thorns, and poison ivy. There is poison ivy at all sites. Bring gardening gloves if you have them. RA will provide some tools, gloves, snacks and water.

All projects: 10 a.m.-noon (unless otherwise noted).

Invasive plants:

  • Out-compete beneficial native plants
  • Replace native food and habitat that birds and other wildlife depend upon
  • Eliminate host plants for native insects such as butterflies
  • Disrupt plant-pollinator relationships, which allow native plants to reproduce
  • And do all of this at an aggressive speed

Want to get involved?

  • You can help stop the spread of invasive plants by signing up to become a Habitat Heroes. Training takes place on the fourth Saturday of each month from 10 a.m.-noon from March to November, except in August.
  • Be careful. If in doubt, don’t pull it out. If you’re not sure what something is, leave it be. It may be an important part of the native plant community. Feel free to send us photographs of plants you are unable to identify.
  • For all projects: Please wear long sleeves and long pants to protect against biting insects, thorns, and poison ivy. There is poison ivy at all sites. Bring gardening gloves if you have them. RA will provide some tools, gloves, snacks and water.

Interested in Volunteering? Please follow the instructions to complete an application and to register to volunteer, or visit our overview page for more information.

Workdays 2018
Click here and select "Environmental Resource/Habitat Heroes" on the left bar for dates and how to pre-register.

Stream Monitoring
Click here and select "Environmental Resource/Stream Monitoring" on the left bar for dates and how to pre-register.

Nature Center Volunteers
Volunteers are involved in pulling invasive species, welcome desk, Nature Center assistance, Nature House 5K, bird box monitors, wildlife counts , Earth Day projects, Halloween House event and much more. Click here to search for the most current opportunities.