From Ellen Snyder
Partnership Coordinator, The Stewardship Network: New England
The Stewardship Network: New England joined the Garlic Mustard Challenge this year. When we sent out inquiries across New Hampshire this past winter, most conservation partners responded that garlic mustard wasn’t present on their lands. We knew of pockets of garlic mustard in the state, especially in the Upper Valley, Monadnock, and Seacoast regions. However, once we started holding garlic mustard pulls and got some press, we started seeing it more often and getting more reports of the plant across the state.
So far this spring the Southeast NH Hub has helped with 7 garlic mustard events that involved more than 70 volunteers with more than 300 pounds pulled. Volunteers included girl scouts and leaders, University of New Hampshire sorority women, college and high school students and some faculty, conservation commission and watershed association members, staff from The Stewardship Network, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and The Nature Conservancy, and other town folk.
Conservation partners are also actively pulling in Hanover and Peterborough. You can read about the Peterborough Conservation Commission partnership with a local school in our feature story on The Stewardship Network: New England’s new website: newengland.stewardshipnetwork.org. In addition to reporting our bags pulled to the Garlic Mustard Challenge, we are training people to map garlic mustard (and other invasive plants) locations using the Early Detection & Distribution Mapping System (EDDMaps) and associated iPane and Outsmart Apps on smartphones or tablets.
Everyone has enjoyed the camaraderie and collective purpose and seems eager (mostly) for the next garlic mustard pull. The University of New Hampshire students even preferred my garlic mustard pesto rather than Dunkin donuts. Here in New England we may not win (we hope not!) a Garlic Mustard Challenge Cluster Cup, but we are relishing the great mix of food, fun, fellowship, technology, and effective conservation work.