| After weeks of searching, pulling and bagging, the first annual “Garlic Mustard Challenge” has come to a close. In just 39 days we went above and beyond our goal of 10,000 pounds to collect a total of 11,722.5 official Garlic Mustard Challenge pounds across four states! On average that is about 300 pounds per day or 73 pounds per volunteer. I want to congratulate everyone on their hard work and commitment to preserving biodiversity. Just imagine how many seeds we prevented from germinating!One group in particular went all out. Boy Scout Troop 70 from Lewisburg, WV pulled a total of 2,100 pounds at Greenbrier State Forest in a single day! This was the largest single day event in the challenge. For this great effort the Monongahela National Forest and Appalachian Forest Heritage Area are proud to award Troop 70 the “2009 Garlic Mustard Challenge Weed Warrior Award.” They will be awarded the trophy within the next few weeks. |
Secondly I would like to recognize the Monongahela National Forest. The Monongahela had nine pulls throughout the challenge. They bagged a total of 4,575 pounds of our pesky plant. This was the most garlic mustard pulled by any one group throughout the challenge. For this outstanding effort the Monongahela will go on the Garlic Mustard Challenge plaque as the 2009 winners! Each year we will add a new winner to this special plaque. Again, I want to thank everyone for their hard work. We couldn’t have reached our goal without the help of everyone pulling together. In the next few weeks the garlic mustard will go to seed and we will move on to worrying about other invasive species, but I can assure you it will be back next year. This is an ongoing long-term project that will take many years to see real results, but do not be discouraged. Together we will increase the amount and locations pulled, educate the public about invasive species, deplete seed banks and most importantly help our native plants propagate. Next April be ready to grab your gloves, bags and friends and head to the woods to compete in the “2010 Garlic Mustard Challenge!” Until then, congratulations to all.