Story by Kelley McDonnell, Stewardship Network Spring 2017 Intern and Garlic Mustard Challenge Coordinator. Kelley is a senior at the University of New Hampshire working on a degree in Environmental Conservation and Sustainability.
The Stewardship Network: New England had yet another successful and fun-filled Garlic Mustard Challenge in 2016. We had an astounding 24 different groups who contributed a total of 80 hours pulling garlic mustard; which was 45 more hours than 2015! A big thank you to all of the 224 participants that helped pull plants and spread the word about garlic mustard last year!
From May through July and anywhere from Massachusetts up to New Hampshire, participants helped to remove this invasive plant and give the ecosystem back to New England’s native plants. Volunteers from the 2016 Garlic Mustard Challenge reported a total of 6,750 lbs of garlic mustard pulled!
Here are some reflections from enthusiastic participants about how they contributed and helped out:
“It was easy to pull and good to get rid of before it spread any further.”
“[A local] landowner has been battling garlic mustard for years, and we wanted to help her in her battle with this event!”
“We’re trying to give our native plants and wildflowers a fighting shot!”
“Thirty 6th graders pulled garlic mustard from a long swath of fence line at the UNH Organic Dairy Farm. [It] will require repeated pulling to eliminate large population.”
There were so many participants that were eager to get out and pull garlic mustard in 2016.
The Garlic Mustard Challenge for 2017 is only a few months away and it will be our fourth year to rally volunteers across New England! Get your materials and friends ready for another great challenge this year with the Stewardship Network: New England!
Want to organize a garlic mustard pull workday near you? Request a packet from the Network with materials on how to recognize the plant and how to work with volunteers to get rid of it! Check out our new "Pull It" stickers that are available to you as a free outreach tool for your garlic mustard event or workday. You can request up to 30 with your packet.
Photos by Emily Lord and Ellen Snyder.