Once again, it’s time to tackle invasive garlic mustard at Shelburne Bay Park

Courtesy photo
Fran Cohen stands among the garlic mustard patch on Allen Hill in Shelburne.

What’s become an annual tradition at Shelburne Bay Park continues this Saturday when volunteers gather for the Fifth Annual Garlic Mustard Eradication Day.

For the past four years community volunteers, including Champlain Valley Union High School students, have successfully spent a few hours pulling these invasive plants at Shelburne Bay Park each spring. This year members of Boy Scout Troop 602 are planning to join the effort as well, according to organizer Fran Cohen.

Garlic mustard is an edible plant of the cabbage family that arrived in New England with European settlers in the mid-1800s, who used it as a remedy for gangrene and ulcers, and also as a food source, Cohen explained.

Today, the invasive non-native mustard plant competes with native spring-flowering species. Shelburne Bay Park teems with ephemeral spring flowers including trillium, hepatica, trout lily, and columbine this time of year.

If left unchecked, the garlic mustard could significantly disrupt the food chain, forcing out wildflowers and native species that depend upon them, such as insects, some of which provide food for songbirds and salamanders, Cohen explained.

She said she’s certain the eradication efforts have been key to the survival of native spring flowers that thrive on Allen Hill and the surrounding area. “Though we will never be able to completely eradicate it, we can keep things under control if enough people lend their hand on an annual basis,” Cohen said.

Project details for Saturday:

• Saturday afternoon May 12, from 2 to 4 p.m.

• First parking lot next to the road at Shelburne Bay Park (not at the boat launch).

• Volunteers only need to bring gardening gloves. Wear sturdy shoes and clothes to discourage ticks (light clothes, hats, pants tucked into socks). All other supplies will be provided.

Contact: Fran Cohen at 598-2511, or fdcohen17@gmail.com to RSVP (not required) or for more information.

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