Help wanted: green thumbs – or brown ones. In this case, it doesn’t matter.
If you’re looking for a way to get out in nature, with appropriate social distancing, and give back to our community, here’s one way to accomplish all of those goals.
Unfortunately for our forest preserves, invasive plant species didn’t the get the memo about the current situation that has altered all of our routines.
The Champaign County Forest Preserve District is asking volunteers to help eradicate the invasive species garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata). According to CCFPD, garlic mustard is abundant and threatens native plant life.
Think of it as a scavenger hunt, only it’s not hard to find.
“Usually, around this time of year, we have large volunteer events to remove garlic mustard from our preserves. Unfortunately, due to social distancing orders in place, we are unable to do that this year. However, we still wanted to give you all a way to help!” reads a Champaign County Forest Preserve District Facebook post.
The Champaign County Forest Preserve District is hoping to deploy an army of volunteers (safely), complete with maps on how to find the garlic mustard in each of the five forest preserves as well as instructions on how to get rid of it.
Here are the instructions:
1. If you want to help, you can bring your own bag or bucket to pull and carry out this invasive species. (We also suggest gloves; with rain coming, bring your mud shoes.)
2. When removing garlic mustard, you should place your hand as close to the base of the plant as possible and pull out the plant including the entire root.
3. Once you pull garlic mustard, it must be removed from the area immediately to prevent the spread of seeds.
4. Drop off whatever you have picked at the Champaign County Forest Preserve designated burn piles or at the maintenance shops, these are indicated on the maps posted with an address in the Facebook post below. We’ve posted the maps for the two largest preserves, Homer Lake and Lake of the Woods.
Still not sure what you’re doing? There’s lot of resources online about how to weed out garlic mustard; here’s one of them.
Questions? please message CCFPD on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s the post on Facebook if you want to see it for yourself.