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Lake County Parks & Trails Division seeks help ridding invasive-exotic plant from PEAR Park

RELEASE DATE: February 3, 2009

LEESBURG — The Lake County Department of Public Works, Parks & Trails Division, is hosting an event, titled “Overthrow the Caesar!,” on Thursday, Feb. 12, from 8 to 11 a.m. at PEAR Park, located at 5336 University Ave., Leesburg, with the aim of removing the plant Caesar’s Weed from the park’s river trail.

“Caesar’s Weed is an invasive-exotic plant that poses a threat to the native ecosystem along the Palatlakaha River at PEAR Park,” Gallus Quigley, a Lake County park ranger.

According to the University of Florida’s Center for Aquatic and Invasive Species Web site (http://aquat1.ifas.ufl.edu), Caesar’s Weed invades disturbed areas, pastures, eroded areas and perennial crop plantations. The species does not compete well in tall grass and brush lands and does not grow under forest canopies. Having an aggressive habit, Caesar’s Weed grows rapidly and can reach 2 to 7 feet by the end of the first year.

Park rangers encourage participants to wear clothes, gloves and shoes that can get dirty and are sturdy enough to allow them to walk off the trail to pull out Caesar’s Weed. In addition, participants are also encouraged to bring water, snacks and insect repellent.

Reservations are required. When making a reservation guests are encouraged to leave names and number of people participating and a contact telephone number. For more information or to make reservations for “Overthrow the Caesar!,” call Park Ranger Gallus Quigley at (352) 253-4950 or e-mail parksandtrails@lakecountyfl.gov.

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klafollette@lakecountyfl.gov

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