Week 6: Make every minute count, make every pound counted

ELF_Walk-2381This is the time of year that I typically start having nightmares about garlic mustard. Well, in all honestly, it usually starts up in March, and the dream always follows that garlic mustard has gone to seed before the Challenge has even started. But right about now, after several spring rains and bouts of warm temperatures have sent the plants shooting skyward, that nightmare seems close to reality. But with all that monstrous growth comes some impressive leaps and bounds in your reports. This week alone, we’ve jumped up about eight tons, bringing our collective total to: 38,849.1 pounds!

Not to belittle the 38,849, but at this moment I’m most impressed with that .1. While reports are generally estimated totals (based on 30 pounds for 33-gallon trash bags and 15 pounds for 13-gallon trash bags), some groups with access to the right equipment do weigh their totals. What I love about that one tenth of a pound is that proves that every piece of the work we do counts.

By now, most of us have been pulling for a good chunk of the spring. It’s understandable that you might be getting a little burned out. The last thing you may feel like doing after battling the mosquitoes and the poison ivy to actually pull the garlic mustard is to sit down and fill out a form about it. But you should be proud of those pounds you’ve pulled – every tenth, every hundredth. Every single plant you’ve pulled keeps hundreds of seeds out of the soil, preventing that many more garlic mustard plants from sprouting in future years.

You’re doing amazing work out there, so make sure it gets counted – report your pounds now!

Heavy Weight:
Upset in the Heavy Weight Division! West Michigan isn’t holding back anymore – this week their total jumps up to 11,074 pounds. Huron Arbor falls into second, with a total of 7,999 pounds. The gloves are off!

Middle Weight:
Mid-Michigan lengthens their lead, pulling up to 5,640.9 pounds at the end of week six. Headwaters won’t be counted out, bringing their total up to 2,374.7 pounds. Southwest Corner pushes onward and upward, raising their total to 617 pounds.

Light Weight:
Upset in the Light Weight Division! Lakeplain makes a move for the lead, jumping from third place to first with a total of 2,190 pounds at the end of week six. Western Lake Erie follows suit, moving from fourth place to second with a total of 1,452 pounds. Grand-Raisin and Lake St. Clair Cluster/CISMA fall back, with 1,180 pounds and 1,040 pounds respectively. Southeast Hub is still waiting to get on the board.

CWMA Division:
Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network keeps their lead and holds strong with 195 pounds! Other groups in the CWMA division are still waiting to get on the board. Be the first to report for those groups! If you’re working to protect natural areas from invasive garlic mustard in the Northern Lower Peninsula or the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, check out our CWMA Division and report your pounds! Reporting groups include the Northeast Michigan CWMA, Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network, and RRIP-IT-UP (Rapid Response Invasive Plant Intervention Team of the Upper Peninsula). Report now!

Emerging Clusters:
We’re working with organizations, volunteers, and landowners in northeast Minnesota to launch one or more Clusters in their region. While we haven’t fully launched those groups yet, anybody pulling garlic mustard there can already get involved by reporting their pounds pulled to our Emerging Minnesota Cluster reporting group. We’re looking forward to working with you more in the coming months and years!

Out of Cluster reports are on the rise, ending the week with a total of 5,086.5 pounds! New reports this week are coming in from East Oshawa (ON), Mississauga (ON), Hersey (MI), and Westfield (IN). Wherever you’re working on managing garlic mustard as an invasive plant, you can report your pounds pulled to the Challenge. Report now!

If you’re traveling for the holiday weekend, be sure to use a boot brush and clean your gear before you hit the trails! We humans are all too good at spreading invasive plants. Their seeds stick to our shoes and clothing, in mud or dirt caught in our bike tires, etc. Then, we drive a couple hundred miles away, jump out of the car, and drop those seed in other parks. That’s why so often invasives like garlic mustard show up around the parking areas and along the trails first. Help prevent that by cleaning your gear before you load it, and by using a boot brush before and after you visit a park. Thanks for taking the extra time to prevent spreading invasive plants!

There are plenty of opportunities to get out and pull garlic mustard in the coming week! Find a garlic mustard pull near you on our searchable events calendar or pull it from your own backyard!


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