Angeles NF Map 
Throughout the season, the team worked along various areas of Angeles National Forest. In this map, areas worked can be seen in relation to the Angeles NF boundary, along with the Station Fire burn area from 2009. Drainages, dozer lines, roadways, and other areas can be seen where the team removed invasives and surveyed.
Hitch 9 
Sunday was probably our most productive day for removing Spanish Broom yet; we removed upwards of two dozen plants. We had five volunteers helping us, and worked for most of the day in the mountains. Monday was more drainage work. We continued to split up into groups and work with the Weed Crew. We pulled more Polypogon, Prickly Lettuce, Melilotous, Sisymbrium, and Soncus. On Tuesday we went to the Monte Cristo Fire Station and pulled seeds off of Spanish Broom because there was not enough time to pull them. After we got all the seeds we split up into groups and scouted for invasives on the Upper Big Tujunga Canyon. Wednesday was our last day of field work. We broke up into groups with the Weed Crew for the last time and pulled invasives on the areas we scouted the day before. There were more Spanish Broom pods as well as Melilotus, Sisymbrium, Polypogon, and Lactuca.
Excursion 8 
To start off the week the team went to Mount Gleason Road to pull Spanish Broom with the Weed Crew and four volunteers. The group found a massive Spanish Broom near the side of the road that had roots that were nearly eight feet deep. This required the group to dig a six foot hole until we could get the weed wrench around the root. As the week continued on, the team spent more time with the Weed Crew in riparian areas near Mount Gleason. The invasive species that the group pulled and bagged in the Mount Gleason riparian areas were Prickly Lettuce, Sisymbrium, Meditteranean Mustard, Rabbits Foot, and Saltcedar. On the final day of the week, the team went to Aliso Canyon to work in riparian areas. Although the group had relativly short drainages to survey, we ran into large patches of Sisymbrium and Prickly Lettuce that needed to be pulled and bagged.
Excursion 7 
After a late start due to a flat tire on one of the Forest Service vehicles we started off the week as we usually do pulling Spanish Broom with six new volunteers. This week our volunteers were slightly older than the normal people that come out to help us, however, they were much more exuberant than the younger people usually are. After pulling a dozen or so of these troublesome plants we left the site but were delayed yet again when one of the volunteers blew a tire on their truck. Luckily Brian stepped in with his SCA training and quickly helped change their tire. Monday through Wednesday we went into a series of canyons that the Weed Crew started late last week. Monday was a relatively normal day removing the usual Polypogon, Prickly Lettuce, Soncus, and Bull Thistle. Tuesday and Wednesday were full of adventure and old friends. While swimming through fields upon fields of Poodle Dog Bush we were back pulling our old friend Sisybrium. Danny, David, and Meagan were working in the same relative area but Brian was in a different group that ended up going on a wild goose chase that resulted in the climbing of Mount Gleason. Wednesday and Thursday were less stressful than the previous day but still full of hard work and was a long day for everyone.
Excursion 6 
Sunday July 10th we went out with the weed crew and nine volunteers to pick Spanish Broom. We managed to remove about two dozen of the offensive plants. The next day we joined the weed crew and split up into groups of three or four and did a series of riparian areas near Moody canyon. We removed Prickly Lettuce, Rabbits Foot, Sweet Clover, and Sow Thistle. Meagan’s group ran into fields of Sisymbrium and Polypogon that were too large to remove so they reported it and kept going. After we had scoured the riparian area for high priority invasive we found some Spanish Broom and removed all the seeds from approximately four eight foot tall plants. On Tuesday we went to a herbarium to study different invasive that could be found in the forest. Katie, our forest contact, had prepared a test for us that required naming more than fifty non-native plants that attack our riparian areas. Earlier in the morning we had also participated in Radio training so that if an emergency occurred in the field we would know how to reach Dispatch on the Weed Crew’s radios. The next day Meagan and David began to work on our final report while Brian and Danny went out into the field with the weed crew and work on more riparian areas.
Excursion 5 
July 5th, 2011
The team split into several different groups to do work on riparian areas. The group that David was in went to Mattox Canyon where they pulled Sweetclover and Rabbits Foot. Brian, Danny and Meagan's group went to Mill Canyon near the Pacific Crest Trail. Brian and Danny's group went close to the top of a mountain where North Fork Camp Ground is loacated. A stream started near the camp ground and we followed it until the stream forked. We met the other group that Meagan was working with where the stream forked. Both of the groups at Mill Canyon found Prickly Lettuce, Sow Thistle, Rabbits Foot, several different kinds of Mustards and Saltcedar which is the highest priority invasive that we are looking for. Brian and Danny's group had a very enjoyable day because they went down the stream from the top of the mountain. They had to climb down small waterfalls and manover their way through overgrown areas.
July 6th, 2011
The team spent the day at Mill Canyon where the members split up to work on different riparian areas. Meagan and David went with one of the Weed Crew members to a riparian area where they pulled Saltcedar, Prickly Lettuce, Sow Thistle, Rabbits Foot and took the seed pods off of the Spanish Broom that they found. Brian and Danny went to another riparian area with a Weed Crew member where they followed a stream from the road that they drove in on. They found several types of Mustard, Rabbits Foot, Prickly Lettuce and Sow Thistle.
Excursion 4 
The 26th was spent pulling more mustard at Largo Vista. We had 20 volunteer fire fighters come and help pull with us. The next day we had 16 volunteers help us pull at Largo Vista again. We met Brian back at the fire barracks. The 28th and 29th were both spent at Indian Canyon. We split up into three groups and Brian (our Program Manager) came with us and helped us to pull Melilotus officinalis (Sweetclover), Prickly Lettuce, Rabbits Foot, several types of mustards along with several types of bromes from the riparian areas we worked. We bagged everything (minus the Sweetclover) that we pulled and kept an eye out for Tamarix ramosissima (Saltcedar) and Spanish Broom because they are two of the highest priorities, but we did not see any. After trying to avoid Poison Oak and southern California’s infamous Poodledog Bush, we headed home after a long work week.
Excursion 3 
Like our first two weeks here went spent this last week pulling Mustard at Largo Vista. We started our week with a handful of our usual Sunday volunteers pulling Mustard for a few hours before we were invited to the local fire crew’s family day picnic. We got a short tour of their barracks and vehicles before they unfortunately received a call and had to leave. Not too tired from being out on the call they came to help us pull Mustard for the next few days. About 20 or so other local volunteers also came out everyday to help make quick work of pulling the last bit of Mustard. At one point near the end of the week Brian and Danny used the GPS to map the boundary of the area that we pulled; we had done a total of 87 acres. On the last day of our hitch we had to make sure that all of our piles were sufficiently covered by plastic, preferably, or sticks so that the seeds would be “solarized” and not be able to reproduce new plants. We learned from Katie that invasive removal on this scale was something new that the Forest Service was trying out as a protocol for the next year. Hopefully our last three weeks worth of work wasn’t in vain and the Mustard won’t return.
Excursion 2 
Sunday we spent the day traveling high in the mountains to work with volunteers to pull Spanish Broom. Our work truck (Jenna) didn't appreciate the drive one bit. Dick and Cody, two volunteers from last year, were very familiar with the site and were excited to see that none of the old Spanish Broom grew back from last summer, and that we were able to move on to another portion of the road. After toiling away for a few hours we had managed to remove about a dozen large rooted plants. Last year, the team removed Spanish Broom along several miles of road, and the goal this year is to finish the project up to the fire station.
The next day we met up with the USFS Weed Crew again and returned to the field of Oriental Mustard (Sisymbrium) we had worked on the previous week. We spent the day pulling and piling more of this obnoxious invasive. The rest of our hitch was spent at this site, though luckily we had a number of volunteers to help us this time.
Tuesday we had 8 exuberant firefighters and 15 other people from the surrounding area helping us pull acres worth of Sisymbrium. Our crew of volunteers had so much fun helping us that they returned the next day to help and even brought more people along with them, we had 31 total volunteers show up.
Excursion 1 
Monday June 6th, was an office day. We drove in and met our agency contact Katie Vinzant, we went over the history of the fire and the areas where we were going to be working. We discussed potential hazards such as steep slops, unstable footing, Poodle Dog Bush, Poison Oak, rattlesnakes and black bears. We met two members of the USFS Weed Crew that we would be working with, Drew and Camille. Afterwards, we went on a hike to a local waterfall where we practiced identifying non native species. Tuesday, we went out to a riparian area known as Ybarra Canyon. We meandered up the stream pulling Tree Tobacco, Prickly Lettuce, and Bull Thistle. After a hard day's work, we had collected a total of eight 30 gallon trash bags full of these invasive plants. The next day we met up with more members of the USFS Weed Crew; Drew, Brock, Paul, and Camille to pull Perennial Pepperweed along an old historic road to nearby Los Angeles. The entire area was completely overgrown with dense patches of this white flowered invasive plant. By the end of the day, we had removed, bagged and tagged around thirty-three 30 gallon trash bags. Thursday, we went to a new area recently purchased by Angeles Forest, which was on the north side of the forest. We set out to start pulling a 40 acre area of Sisymbrium, aka Oriental Mustard. Most of the surrounding fields are filled with this invasive plant, and the amount at this site is a little disheartening to look at. A great reward was to be able to look back and see what we had removed, and how much of an actual change there was. We placed the pulled plants in large piles and then placed black plastic over them in order to dry them out, solarize, and kill them before they seed. By the end of a 10 hour day we had pulled a total of 5 to 7 acres.
In the fall of 2009, the Station Fire burned 160,000 acres or a third to a quarter of the Angeles National Forest which decimated much of the native plants. Spending time in the forest and with the established USFS Weed Crew we are able to quickly identify plants while learning more about each invasive spieces. In the areas that were burned, much of the vegitation is knee to shin height that are invasive species. The highest priority invasive species are: Salt Ceder, Tree Tobacco, Spanish Broom, Caster Bean, Pepper Weed, and several species in the Mustard family.
Located in southern California, the Angeles National Forest is a heavily urban forest, with thousands of visitors each year. Being so heavily used for vehicle and foot traffic, the risk and potential for the spread of invasive species grows each season. The education, removal, and disposal of invasive species throughout the forest is a huge priority throughout the local communities and throughout local governments.
With the help of an already established USFS Weed Crew, Botanists, volunteers, and other local groups, one of the continuing goals for the forest is to minimize the spatial extent of the invasive species by removing them in high priority areas such as dozer lines (put in place during the Station Fire to minimize the spread of fire), riparian areas and along pipelines.
To start our summer, the SCA Angeles National Forest Fire Recovery Team arrived at Texas Canyon Fire Station located near Santa Clarita, CA in Angeles National Forest on June 4th. We settled in and went through the calendar, first aid, basic site information, and talked about what a typical day would be like while working with the Fire Recovery Crew. Each crew member learned how to use the GPS, radios, tools, and also what was expected when using the SCA vehicles and when spending time in the barracks. During the first few days we learned what the major invasive spieces looked like and methods of removal.
Which brings us to our first hitch...
Originally hailing from SW Wisconsin, and a recent Utah resident, I will be leading the Angeles National Forest Fire Recovery Team this summer. After several years in the military and a year in the desert, I decided to let Uncle Sam pay for my college. I am a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, where I majored in Geography with a minor in Earth Science.
I first began my journey with the SCA in the summer of 2008, where I was a FIREMON crew member both in Bismarck, ND and in Havre, MT. This experience opened my eyes to the role we each share in conservation. While continuing college, I worked at the Trempealeau Fish and Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin. Among my many tasks was the removal of invasive species. I quickly came to realize the need for proper treatment and removal to stop the spread of these species. During the summer of 2010, I studied heavy metal soil contamination in Albania, using x-ray fluorescence and GIS. Soon after this very hot and dirty experience, I graduated college and moved to sunny southern Utah, which brings us to today.
I am super pumped for this season continuing my work with the SCA Fire Program. Other than the times I will be removing invasive species from Angeles National Forest, you can find me frequenting the local trails and sites.
Meagan Pike 
Born and raised in Connecticut, I recently graduated from the University of Connecticut with a degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and a minor in Horticulture. Working towards a better understanding of field conservation, I feel like this trip will give me that perfect opportunity to help me succeed in the future. I like to spend my time reading, taking pictures, and just generally having a good time.
David Pearson 
I just finished my junior year at Olivet College, and am working towards a Degree in Environmental Science and Biology. I am from Livonia, MI, and I am excited to be working with the SCA on the Angeles National Forest Fire Recovery Team because I feel it will give me a greater understanding of the problems invasive species cause and how best to go about habitat restoration. I like to spend my free time reading, playing videogames, running, and hanging out with friends.
Daniel Saunders 
My name is Daniel Saunders and I will be working with the Angeles National Forest Fire Recovery Team this summer. This position interested me because I get to work with invasive plants and learn more about them. Currently, I am planning on receiving an Environmental Studies degree from the University of Minnesota and hope this program will help me further my career in the field.
From Minnesota, I grew up spending much of my free time fishing along the Mississippi River as well as many other rivers and lakes. Invasive species in these rivers and lakes are a huge issue in Minnesota right now, so I hope to someday link the skills I learn here at the forest to invasive species near home such as Asian Carp and Zebra Mussels in the Aquatic Ecosystem.