Garlic Mustard Blitz at Fort Dupont Park!

Steve McKindley-Ward and Jorge Bogantes Montero had a wonderful morning last week in the woods of Fort Dupont Park with an animated volunteer group from St. Albans School (NW Washington, DC). The all-boys school group was presented with a significant Garlic Mustard Challenge along a half mile segment of the Hiker Biker Trail. The 58 volunteers were split up into two subgroups and led through the hilly hardwoods of the park by Steve and Jorge and a “secret” prize was promised for the winning team, which raised some eagerness in the group. The groups raided the trail uprooting all the second year garlic mustard herbs found at the trailside.

The result was a total of 127 pounds of second year garlic mustard plants yanked out from the woods and bagged for later disposal. Members of the wining team bagged 73 pounds and received an AWS rain gauge! More than just a competition (which was our strategy of boosting the children's enthusiasm), garlic mustard removals like this one help restore habitat for native plants and wildlife. We saw some great signs of control success at some sites where we have been removing the plant for the last year, there where only first year plants (the plant has a 2-year life cycle) which are the younger non-reproductive garlic mustards and little or no second year plants (the ones bearing flowers and seeds). But that doesn’t mean the “weed war” is over. Invasive plant control is a long term endeavor that, with persistence and hard work, really pays off. Along the way, we engage volunteers and educate people on the invasive species problem, one of the top threats to the local biodiversity.

Visit the AWS Calendar to see when you can get involved in our upcoming volunteer events!

Students adding up the bag's weight to determine the winner.

Steve distributing Tecnu to wash off the posion ivy irritant oils.




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