Gainesville Greenway Challenge

Gainesville Greenway Challenge logo

Take the challenge to protect Gainesville’s natural areas! The Gainesville Greenway Challenge (GGC) is a year-round effort to restore the natural habitat in Gainesville by removing invasive plant species that threaten ecosystem health. 

Join the challenge and help us to eradicate the region’s most aggressive invasive plants in Gainesville’s nature parks! We remove a variety of invasive plants including Coral Ardisia, Caesar's Weed and more! For information on the location of these events, and when they will be check out our Facebook page.

Our weekly Give Back Thursday Events will be running between now and The Great Invader Raider Rally on February 24th! Anyone who volunteers during these events is invited to celebrate with us at Morningside Nature Center on February 24th from 11:30am-1:30pm. Volunteers will also be given tickets to enter our free raffle during the event! Even if you cannot volunteer on the day of the event, if you bring your tickets with you to the celebration, you can enter for a chance to win one of our fabulous prizes donated to us by local businesses! 

Groups or individuals can find out more about upcoming events for the Gainesville Greenway Challenge by signing up for the newsletter below or contacting us at or call 352-262-6670.  

Funding for the Gainesville Greenway Challenge was provided by a Wells Fargo Environmental Solutions for Communities grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. 

Why are invasive species a problem?

Invasive species are fierce competitors and compete with native plants and animals for food and living space. More than 50% of Florida’s native listed rare plants are threatened by invasive species through direct destruction or crowding.  Invasive species have no natural control agent to keep them in check like they are in their native range. 

Invasives know no boundaries and will grow beyond a homeowner's yard and into neighboring natural areas.
Florida consistently has one of the highest numbers of invasive plants in the United States. One of the reasons is because 70% of all plant shipments that come into the United States, come through Florida’s ports. Approximately 130 invasive plant species currently pose a threat to Florida’s natural areas.

What can you do to prevent the spread of invasive species?

Landscaping with native plants is a good start. Native plants typically need less water and care than exotic ornamentals and are better for native wildlife that live within the city such as birds and butterflies.  Ensuring you have the right plant for the right space is key.  Check out the Florida Native Plant Society's website FNPS Plant Search for more information on what plants would work in your area. 
Also, do not release exotic pets into natural areas. Many exotic pets like tropical fish, snakes, lizards, and frogs can live very well in north central Florida, but they also compete with native animals for food and shelter.

Unwanted exotic pets should be given to another caretaker or brought to an Exotic Pet Amnesty Days event where they will be provided with a proper home.