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State Honoree

Jesse Hanna

Montana

founded and chairs the “Weed Patrol,” an annual conservation project that seeks to eradicate the harmful “Blue Weed” along roadsides by using the most environmentally sound method possible – good, old-fashioned weed pulling. The project, now in its fifth year, grew from Jesse’s desire to honor the memory of his brother Jason, who had worked tirelessly to counter the harmful effects of weeds on the land. Jesse decided to target the Blue Weed, a non-native biennial plant with no forage value that can “easily destroy the visual beauty of roadsides and valuable natural habitat, pasture and crop land,“ he said. He secured assistance from his 4-H club and local landowners, and promoted the annual weed-pulling event throughout the town to recruit volunteers. Jesse also wrote technical information sheets about the Blue Weed and its harmful effects, and wrote articles for the local newspaper. Since 1995, Jesse has organized five annual “pulling parties,” and has managed to keep a three-mile stretch of roadside free of weeds. He also has encouraged local landowners to start projects of their own. “The biggest stakeholders of this project are future generations who will enjoy the pristine beauty of native landscapes,” said Jesse.