Peterborough Schools Help Conservation Commission Pull Garlic Mustard

volunteers holding garlic mustard

The Peterborough (NH) Conservation Commission's first community garlic mustard pull was held in May 2014 after some educational outreach about invasive plants. Working at the Well School, the group focused on an area of town with a lot of garlic mustard introduced in roadside fill.

I created a slide show on invasive plants and the problems they present, with garlic mustard the main focus. Then I took it to the Well School and showed it to the 6th-8th grades. Afterwards, we went out and pulled (and tasted) garlic mustard, which is easy to find. It was anywhere that sand and gravel had been used as fill!

The kids came away with a good understanding about how certain plants become invasive, and the damage done to a natural diversity of plants and wildlife. I heard later that the twelve 7th graders explained the garlic mustard problem to the lower school the next day at an all-school meeting, and the entire school population went out and pulled 12 bags (almost) full, with the 7th graders in charge of twelve different groups.

Our community pull of volunteers plus some Well School families was the next day, Saturday, and--hard to believe--we got most of the emergent garlic mustard pulled! Most satisfying is that the school is energetically tuned in to the problem. More garlic mustard will emerge, the school will take care of it.

That group also launched an "Invasive Plants of the Monadnock Region" brochure (click on link to view online) that the Conservation Commission published recently, with local photos of invasives on familiar streets. The local paper also was there for good coverage (see Monadnock Ledger-Transcript article). It was a great start to the Conservation Commission and Open Space Committee's focus on invasive plants.