In this second article in our Earth Week series, Brittany Rowan challenges everyone to help rid Western New York of invasive species. Invasive species can be plants be plants or animals that negatively affect our local habitat. They can disrupt a local landscape by dominating a region or wilderness area, and impacting ecology and economy.
Garlic mustard, the invasive species mentioned in this article, is a cool season herb with stalked, heart-shaped leaves that give off an odor of garlic when crushed. Garlic mustard poses a threat to native plants and animals in forest communities in much of the eastern United States. Once introduced to an area, garlic mustard outcompetes native plants by aggressively monopolizing light, moisture, nutrients, soil and space. Wildlife species that depend on early native plants for their foliage, pollen, nectar, fruits, seeds and roots, are deprived of these essential food sources when garlic mustard replaces them.
Nature sites will hold “Garlic Mustard Challenge” to remove invasive species
Do you want to make the environment a healthier place for people, plants and wildlife?
Then gather your friends, scouts, and classmates and take part in the “Garlic Mustard Challenge”!
This spring, the Buffalo Audubon Society, the Western New York Land Conservancy and Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve are teaming up for this exciting stewardship project. Funded by the Air and Waste Management Association, the project goal is to use people power to combat the spread of Garlic Mustard, an invasive plant species.
Invasive species are non-native plants or animals that have negative impacts on the environment. When Garlic Mustard invades an area, it grows rapidly and spreads easily. Forest floors and fields of wildflowers quickly turn into homogenous stands of this “alien invader.” Fortunately, Garlic Mustard is easy to recognize and remove.
Volunteers can take pride in the fact that their actions will have immediate and lasting effects on the environment. By removing Garlic Mustard, they will make soil, water, nutrients and sunlight available to native plants. Flourishing flowers will provide food and habitat for wildlife such as birds and butterflies. Essentially, volunteers will unmask the natural beauty of the preserves for everyone to enjoy.
Volunteers can sign up to participate at one of three sites: Beaver Meadow Audubon Center in North Java, the Land Conservancy’s Kenneglenn in Wales, or Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve in Depew. Each site will hold a kickoff on Saturday, April 21, where teams will learn how to identify this plant and become familiar with their site.
Teams will have two months to pick as much Garlic Mustard as they can. The group that picks the most at their site will win a one-night stay in Beaver Meadow’s cabin and $200 cash! The winners will be announced at an award ceremony on June 23.
The Garlic Mustard Challenge is a perfect opportunity for people of almost any age and ability to make a difference.
To register, call Brittany at (716) 683-5959 x 205. For more information, visit the Garlic Mustard Challenge Facebook page.