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Alabama State Parks Receives Hearts of STIHL Grant

Working Group at Chewacla State Park

The Chewacla Invasive Plant Working Group has been crucial in long-term efforts to remove and control non-native plant species at Chewacla State Park.

The State Parks Division of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) was recently awarded a $20,000 Hearts of STIHL grant from STIHL, Inc., to be used for the removal and management of invasive plant species at Chewacla State Park, in Auburn, Alabama.

The Hearts of STIHL grants are awarded to support programs that prioritize responsible forest management practices, sustainability, conservation and environmental education programs. The grants are managed through the America’s State Parks Foundation and awarded to state parks in six regions of the U.S. – southeast, northeast, central, north central, northwest and southwest.

“Invasive plants are a threat to native ecosystems throughout the country,” said Tasha Simon, Natural Resources Supervisor for Alabama State Parks. “Since Alabama is one of the most biologically diverse states in the U.S., managing that threat to our native species is very important. We are grateful to STIHL for this grant and will put it to use working with our partners in Auburn to reduce the number of invasive plant species that are present at Chewacla.”

The grant will fund the purchase of equipment and herbicides to reduce the amount of Chinese privet and tallowtree, thorny olive, wild taro, water hyacinth, kudzu and other non-native plants at Chewacla State Park. The funding will also support educational signage and print media about the restoration of native habitats within the park.

“Partnerships are a sustaining factor that allow Alabama State Parks to fulfill its mission to preserve natural areas and educate the public about the state’s natural environment,” Simon said. “Our partnership with the Chewacla Invasive Plant Working Group has been crucial in the development and implementation of a long-term effort to remove and control non-native plant species at Chewacla. We are thankful for their dedication to habitat restoration in the park.”

Additional partners in the management and removal of invasive plants at Chewacla State Park, including the City of Auburn, Auburn University, Lee County Master Gardeners and the Central Alabama Mountain Pedalers as well as other park volunteers.

For more information about the Hearts of STIHL program, visit

Located just off Interstate 85 near Auburn, Chewacla State Park offers plenty of rest, relaxation and recreation opportunities including camping, hiking, mountain biking, swimming, fishing, paddling and much more. Plan your visit at

ADCNR promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through four divisions: Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. Learn more at


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