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My Arundo Removal Experience - An Intern's Perspective on Eradicating an Invasive Species

Hi, my name is Julia and I am the River Run Network intern for Fall 2022 - Spring 2023. I started my internship with Watershed Management Group in August 2022 and my first Arundo pull was a warm September day. I remember seeing this invasive plant all around the Tanque Verde Creek, taking up so much space in the creek. It seemed like removing all of the Arundo from the creek would be impossible to do just by hand. As my internship continued, I realized that eradicating Arundo from the Tanque Verde Creek isn’t an impossible goal - we can do it with the help of volunteers. It has been amazing to see all the progress that has been made since the fall of 2022  because of the River Run Network volunteers who continuously come out to the creek.

Through my time working with Watershed Management Group, I have grown and learned to lead groups on my own, which has helped my ability to build connections with others in our community and get me out of my comfort zone. I have learned so much about field work and look forward to taking that knowledge with me into future work I do. 



During my time as an intern, I have met many amazing people while removing Arundo. Volunteers  - like you - of all ages have come out to help remove this invasive plant. The youngest group that we have seen was a group of seven to eight year old girl scouts in October 2022. They removed root clumps and then we walked them through the flowing creek. All of the scouts were so curious about the different plants and animals that lived in and outside of the creek. They also ended up taking Arundo home to dry it out and use it in a craft.

Another Arundo removal group that struck me was a University of Arizona Music Group in January 2023. This large group of college students seemed to have fun during the workshop, eventually taking Arundo with them to create oboe reeds. It has been really inspiring for me to see all the ways that Arundo can be creatively used.  

Additionally, I have gotten to know many of you - our regular volunteers. Whenever I am out in the field removing Arundo there is always an engaging conversation to be had. One volunteer that stands out is Katy Brown, who’s attended over 10 workshops. You all are so dedicated, and it has been a joy to meet you at our weekend workshops.

This internship was a great experience to work with such a dedicated group of staff, interns, and volunteers. I have also gotten experience with the behind the scenes of planning volunteer events. Planning volunteer events is not the easiest thing to do, but it is incredibly worth it, especially when we hear from so many volunteers that they enjoy it. 

I’ll be an intern here for just a little while longer, but I will take with me all of these amazing experiences and memories from this time. Thank you for your support of the effort and working toward the eradication of Arundo from the Tanque Verde Creek with me.