What an amazing year!
On behalf of the Stewardship Network team, I’d like to thank you for the time you’ve spent, miles you’ve walked, and plants you pulled as a part of this year’s Garlic Mustard Challenge.
While we wait for our final tallies, I wanted to take the time to share some of the highlights we’ve witnessed this season:
As far as reporting forms go, there are only a few things that are more exciting than the photos of smiling teams holding up fistfuls of this ecosystem-altering invasive. The first is when we get that note at the bottom that says “All our garlic mustard has been pulled! We’re done for the season!” But the second may not be what you expect…
Every year we hear things like:
“This area was a solid monoculture of garlic mustard 2 years ago. We can’t believe the difference!”
“We shared some info on Garlic Mustard with our neighbors, and now we pull together! More reports to come!”
“The little girl across the street came over to help me pull. She learned about invasive species at school and knew just what to do.”
And the favorite is:
“We’re not giving up.”
This Challenge is special. Not because of the concept or the total weight at the end of the season, but because of every one of you. Every year, people like you build a community that spans from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin, and from Indiana to Ontario without even knowing it. We compete, but at the end of the day, we all have the same goals. To restore balance to our natural lands and waters by controlling Garlic Mustard in our local areas? Yes. To call attention to and educate others on the effects of invasive species in our native ecosystems? Absolutely. But what makes this tradition truly special is the dedication and collective dream of all involved. You pull because you know you can make a difference. By healing the ecosystems on your land, you protect your neighbor’s yard as well.
At the Stewardship Network we believe collaboration is the best way to approach protecting our local lands and waters. We share a common love for these areas, and we strive to be the place where people can come to the table, no matter their background or knowledge base, and be supported to do more for our natural areas. We want to help you grow as an individual and give you the resources to work together. I encourage you to continue to tap into the wealth of The Stewardship Network and to give back to The Network to make it even stronger.
We look forward to continuing to move forward together as a community. Until we meet again during this Challenge next year, don’t be a stranger. Attend Stewardship Network workshops; join us at The Science, Practice & Art of Restoring Native Ecosystems conference; become a member; volunteer; tune into a webcast; let us know what you think.
Thanks for your hard work this season. We could not do this without you.
With great appreciation-
The Stewardship Network