The Great Invader Raider Rally Offers a Chance to Give Back

The Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Affairs Department is gearing up for its third annual Great Invader Raider Rally held Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017.  Formerly known as the Great Air Potato Round-Up, the rally continues a tradition that began more than 15 years ago as a community-wide day of service where volunteers of all ages work to remove non-native invasive plants from Gainesville’s natural areas.

The Great Invader Raider Rally focuses on removing several invasive plants, like the ubiquitous Coral ardisia, an evergreen shrub with bright red berries, and Caesarweed, an insidious weed that produces sticky burrs that “hitchhike” on animal fur and clothing, furthering its spread.

The day of service is followed by a volunteer celebration at Morningside Nature Center, located at 3540 E. University Ave. The celebration features music from Wax Wings, raffle prizes from local businesses, environmental education tables and games. Local food trucks will have available food for purchase.

Registration is required to participate in the rally--register online as an individual or register a group at All registered participants receive a commemorative t-shirt featuring original artwork by Gainesville’s own Molly Kempson of Spotty Boy Press.

If your organization is interested in becoming a sponsor of the rally, please contact Stay updated on the latest invasive plant information at or You can share your rally experience by using #GIRR2017.