Great Invader Raider Rally takes place Saturday, Jan. 30


This Saturday, from 9-11 a.m., volunteers will help remove invasive plants from Gainesville’s natural areas. More than 500 volunteers are currently signed up. Under trained leadership, volunteers will work to restore 20 pre-assigned natural areas in varying locations around Gainesville. 

After the rally, the Victory Celebration at Morningside Nature Center (3540 E. University Ave.) will be held from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. for Great Invader Raider Rally participants. The celebration includes t-shirts, music, prizes, environmental booths, games and food trucks with food for purchase. This year’s music is provided by Bears and Lions. Participants’ registration closes Wednesday, Jan. 27.

At the Victory Celebration, Heather R. Julin-Pittman, community affairs representative from Wells Fargo, will present a grant award check for more than $60,000 for City of Gainesville Greenway Challenge’s continued efforts in the restoration of 47-acres of habitat in eight nature parks located in the City of Gainesville, by removing invasive non-native species, engaging volunteers and educating the public. The National Fish and Wildlife Federation and Wells Fargo are two organizations that have pledged their support to the City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department’s continuing invasive plant control efforts over a two-year period. This effort is called the Gainesville Greenway Challenge.

The Second Annual Great Invader Raider Rally continues the tradition of the Great Air Potato Round-up that took place annually in Gainesville for 15 years. Citizen efforts combined with a very successful biocontrol, a hungry beetle, diminished what used to be the most pervasive invasive plant threatening Gainesville’s natural areas - the air potato. Now volunteers assist with other invasive plants that are just as detrimental to natural habitat. Volunteers are also needed for a new year-round volunteer effort called the Gainesville Greenway Challenge.

Groups or individuals can sign up for the Gainesville Greenway Challenge online at