Go Beyond Beauty, a program of the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network (ISN), announces an expansion of who is eligible to participate. Go Beyond Beauty, which began in 2013, was previously only open to plant nurseries and landscapers, and nearly 20 businesses participated. As interest in gardens and planting has increased, Go Beyond Beauty will now be open to any interested person or organization in ISN’s service area: Benzie, Grand Traverse, Leelanau and Manistee counties. Groups that manage a public planting, such as garden clubs and homeowner associations, are especially encouraged to join.
Go Beyond Beauty is free, voluntary and the only program of its kind in the Midwest that recognizes those who take a proactive stance by avoiding or removing invasive plant species, thus protecting our region’s natural assets.
“The Invasive Species Network established Go Beyond Beauty to create a change in the market by creating a demand for native plants,” said Emily Cook, outreach specialist with the ISN. “We view the program as a ‘carrot’ rather than a ‘stick’, meaning we want to incentivize and celebrate those who opt against high-priority invasive species.”
Participants, such as Garden Goods in Traverse City, are excited that others will be joining the effort.
"We are so pleased to have been involved with the Go Beyond Beauty program since its inception,” said Julie Sovereign, owner of Garden Goods. “Our customers appreciate our commitment to lessening the impact non-native species can have on the vast natural areas that surround us. What a wonderful opportunity this will be for individuals to participate directly with the program.”
Invasive species can negatively impact human health, our economy and our habitats. Plants such as baby’s breath can quickly spread and overtake the sand dunes that characterize Michigan’s coastline. By promoting non-invasive plants among garden clubs and centers, landscapers, school groups and any interested resident, Go Beyond Beauty hopes to make northwest Michigan an example of natural beauty, wildlife habitat and bountiful waters that inspire.
Benefits of participating include Go Beyond Beauty materials, such as bumper stickers and garden signs, as well as plentiful information about invasive ornamentals and native plants in gardens. Those interested in participating in Go Beyond Beauty are encouraged to attend the spring meeting on Thursday, April 6 from 2-4pm at the Boardman River Nature Center, 1450 Cass Road, Traverse City, MI 49685. To register for the meeting or learn more, contact Emily Cook (firstname.lastname@example.org or 231-941-0960 ext. 20).
National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW) will be celebrated Monday, February 27 – Friday, March 3, 2017. For five days, individuals and organizations across the country will come together to promote invasive species awareness, shining a light on an environmental issue that costs billions of dollars each year to manage and prevent.
Locally, the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network (ISN) will recognize the event through daily Facebook postings and emails that include educational tips, information on priority plants, a how-to on reporting invasive plants, ways to get involved and local success stories. Additionally, ISN is hosting a Facebook giveaway that will include t-shirts, stickers, invasive species identification books and boot brushes. Sign up on ISN’s Facebook page.
The ISN works to promote awareness of this issue not only during the upcoming awareness week, but all year long. Michigan is special. With unique dune systems, diverse forests, and fresh water, there is a lot to love – but there is also a lot to protect. Many invasive species thrive in this region and gradually alter the landscape, which negatively impacts wildlife, personal enjoyment and the economy.
Partnerships are key when it comes to educating the public on invasive species and in turn, successfully managing an area that has been affected. ISN is fortunate to thrive with the support of more than 40 partners who all play a pivotal role in the protection of Michigan’s natural resources. From small community groups to federal agencies, the diversity of these groups allows ISN to focus its efforts on projects spanning four counties – Benzie, Grand Traverse, Leelanau, and Manistee.
Find more information on National Invasive Species Awareness Week and the ISN and its 40+ partners online.
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About the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network
The Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network (ISN) is a collaboration of over 40 highly motivated and respected organizations in the region. ISN’s mission is to protect, enhance, and promote northwest Michigan's natural communities through terrestrial invasive plant management and outreach. Its service area includes Manistee, Benzie, Leelanau, and Grand Traverse counties. More information can be found at HabitatMatters.org.
Despite a snow-covered ground and chilly temperatures, ISN staff are hard at work preparing for the upcoming field season - including planning workbees, coordinating potential treatments, and soon, hiring new survey technicians. There is no rest for the weary when it comes to combating invasive species.
ISN is also excited to announce the launch of its new website. The address remains unchanged but the look is entirely different. We hope this new set-up, combined with the ability to search the site, will allow for a better understanding of the work ISN does and provide more clear answers to your questions. As always, you can still contact us directly or report any invasive species to the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network (MISIN).
Read on below for event dates, highlights from the world of invasive species, and news about the expansion of Go Beyond Beauty. We look forward to working with you in 2017!
We say this every December, but what a busy year! With twice as much staff, ISN was able to accomplish so much in the world of invasive species management. Combined efforts in treatment and education helped us tackle some large plant infestations and reach more people than ever. Take a look at some of our impressive numbers below. Continue reading to see the complete annual report.
It is also bittersweet to announce that Outreach Assistant, Miriam Owsley, will be leaving ISN and joining another great organization in Traverse City. She has been an invaluable resource this year and we will miss her but congratulate her on this new opportunity! That being said, ISN will be hiring her replacement (hopefully in a full-time capacity) soon. Read on below for more information.
Thank you for a great year and don't forget to stay in touch this winter! As always, you can continue to report invasive species sightings to the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network.
Another year of protecting, enhancing, and promoting northwest Michigan's natural communities through terrestrial invasive plant management and outreach in Benzie, Grand Traverse, Leelanau, and Manistee counties has come to a close, and ISN workers and volunteers have been quite the busy bees!
Volunteers pull garlic mustard at Clay Cliffs Natural Area (Leelanau County)
In addition to continued funding through the first Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program (MISGP) cycle, ISN was awarded additional financing through the EPA (Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, GLRI) and US Forest Service, as well as a second grant from MISGP. Together, these grants allowed ISN to focus on growing Go Beyond Beauty and target source populations of high-priority invasive plants in addition to continuing ISN's ongoing work.
The EPA GLRI grant is focused on outreach and education, specifically highlighting ISN's groundbreaking Go Beyond Beauty program to voluntarily remove invasive ornamental plants from trade. ISN is now able to offer more resources than ever before to assist businesses, and more changes are in the works; stay tuned! We're already seeing success: since October 2015, 2 new businesses have joined the program. Check out which businesses have made this awesome commitment on our website: www.HabitatMatters.org/Go-Beyond-Beauty/ A survey crew was also funded, allowing ISN to look for invasives in a massive amount of the four counties' area.
ISN crew treats Japanese knotweed on Veteran Oak Grove Drive (Manistee County)
The grants from MISGP and the US Forest Service combined to allow ISN to tackle some otherwise insurmountable obstacles: the Japanese knotweed on roadsides-especially Veterans Oak Grove Drive-in the City of Manistee, baby's breath near Elberta Beach, and the invasive Phragmites in Betsie Bay, Arcadia Marsh, and Manistee Lake. In 2016, ISN focused on obtaining permission to treat these species on public and private lands, with our first big push of treatments taking place in August, and continuing through the fall. In 2017, we'll be able to hit the ground running with treatments, and add restoration work (planting native plants in high-risk areas) to our to-do list.
In addition to these special projects, ISN's "normal" work continued. Outreach and education efforts in our four counties progressed, with numerous presentations, workbees, workshops, and media interviews. A "check-out" crew targeted ISN's Top 20 Species for treatment, working side-by-side with partners and private landowners.
Our grant success has allowed us to bring two new members on to the ISN team: Fields Ratliff, our Habitat Management Specialist, and Miriam Owsley, our Outreach Assistant. Fields is from Antrim County, where he now lives with his family of four, and has an extensive background in on-the-ground invasive species management; at work he's focused on treatments and field work. Miriam, hailing from Leelanau County, has experience in marketing, outreach, and public involvement and education in Freshwater Studies focusing on policy; she's been presenting to municipalities, assisting with Go Beyond Beauty, and assisting with permissions and behind-the-scenes work. We're excited to have Fields and Miriam, and all the expertise and enthusiasm they bring, on the ISN team.
If you have questions, want to get involved, or wish to schedule an engaging presentation to an interested group (school group, garden club, interest group, local government, or other) contact Katie Grzesiak at email@example.com or (231) 941-0960 x29 or visit HabitatMatters.org .
We've been hard at work beautifying Go Beyond Beauty!
New branding, new resources, and revamped
participant benefits are in the works!
Emily and Miriam are expanding the reach of Go Beyond Beauty by inviting retail and wholesale nurseries, landscapers, garden clubs, lake and neighborhood associations, municipalities, and concerned individuals who buy, sell, distribute or install any kind of landscaping or gardens to participate in this voluntary program.
What's in it for you
In exchange for their pledge to not sell high-threat invasive plants, participants receive a wide variety of benefits, including a beautiful participant sign to display at your business with pride, staff training and educational resources for your customers and clients, and free online advertising. We want to reward you for joining the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network in protecting Michigan's natural beauty!
You can find more information about Go Beyond Beauty on our website, or send a shout to Emily Cook at firstname.lastname@example.org
Introducing the ISN Tool Library!
ISN is happy to announce our improved Tool Library program. If you are interested in using a weed wrench to remove woody invasive shrubs from your property, or collecting data using a GPS unit, please fill out this simple form to reserve the tools you need. This program is open to the public, and the tools are available for 1 week periods with a $50 refundable deposit.
Fall is a great time to tackle the invasive woody shrubs on your property, and a weed wrench is an easy alternative to herbicide treatment. Read this how-to article to make sure a weed wrench is right for your invasive species removal project, and then make your reservation using the link above.
Speaking of removing woody shrubs, ISN hosted four workbees in September, including two workshops, to educate landowners on invasive species identification and management. It was a great opportunity, and folks enjoyed getting experience removing unwanted woody plants, including autumn olive, barberry, honeysuckle, multiflora rose, and buckthorn. Participants watched an herbicide demonstration and got their hands dirty while yanking out autumn olive plants with weed wrenches. Thank you to all who took part, including Suz McLaughlin who catered such delicious food for after our hard work.
As always, please contact ISN if you have any questions regarding identification, treatment, or upcoming events. You can also report plant sightings to the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network (MISIN) at any time.
Jeanine Rubert is co-owner of Pine Hill, a two-part nursery and landscaping business located in Traverse City and Torch Lake. A current participant of Go Beyond Beauty, Pine Hill is a fantastic resource for all of your gardening needs. Visit their website to learn more and read on below to hear a bit more from Jeanine!
What is the mission of Pine Hill – do you have a focus that will be a special draw to customers?
The main mission here at Pine Hill is to help people be successful gardeners, no matter what their experience level. Our tag line says it all, though: Growing a better world, one garden at a time! That is our primary focus, because how can we grow a better world if we poison it in the process? We do this by promoting sustainability in the garden. Among the tenants of sustainability are limiting lawn size, irrigate efficiently, prune conservatively and use native and appropriate non-native plants.
Why did you join Go Beyond Beauty?
We joined the Go Beyond Beauty campaign because it fits in perfectly with
our own beliefs.
On a personal (or business) level, why do you think people should transition to native/non-invasive gardens?
There has been a learning curve even for us, so we understand that our customers are learning too. I have always been a proponent of gardening where you are, so the use of natives is a natural extension of that belief. As we learn more about the plight of pollinators and loss of habitat for wildlife, it only makes sense that as gardeners, we do our best to help by making choices that not only provide beauty for us, but food and habitat for them! It’s easy to get in the rut of planting only what is familiar and widely used and available, so it has been fun and rewarding to help our customers think in a new and creative way when helping them choose plants for their landscape.
What is your favorite native plant and why?
It’s very hard to choose just one plant as my favorite, so I’ll mention a few. Asclepias tuberosa, Butterfly weed, is one of my favorite perennials. I love the bright orange flowers and its tough nature. Serviceberry, Amelanchier, is one of my favorite native trees because of its 4 seasons of interest, flowers in spring, followed by berries in the summer, wonderful fall color and smooth bark for winter interest. I also love Ilex verticillata for those brilliant red berries in the winter! I am a big fan of Bearberry, Prairie dropseed, Little bluestem, Joe-Pye-Weed and Wintergreen. I could go on, but you get the picture!
This fall, ISN is pleased to offer two workshops in addition to our annual invasive shrub removal days. Held in Grand Traverse and Benzie counties, these workshops will focus on the best techniques for identifying invasive species commonly found in this region. Participants will also learn about management options available – with a focus on the typical landowner. ISN staff will present on both subjects and be available to answer any questions you may have. Following the one-hour workshop, we will venture outside to a neighboring natural area. Here, we will get an opportunity to practice our new ID skills while searching for and removing invasive shrubs.
In Manistee and Leelanau Counties, workbees will resemble those in years past. Please meet at the designated site and from there, after a brief orientation, we will head out on the trail and start tackling invasive species!
For all workbees, please plan to bring work gloves and hand tools that may be useful in removing shrubs. Loppers and hand-saws are recommended. If you prefer lighter work, there may also be the opportunity to remove berries from mature plants (to prevent their spread). Catered refreshments will be provided for all to enjoy after our hard work! Please RSVP to ISN Outreach Specialist, Emily Cook at (231)941-0960 x20 or email email@example.com. You can also sign up by visiting this site. We look forward to seeing you!
Manistee County Woody Invasives Workbee
When: Friday, September 9 — 10:00am-noon
Where: Lake Bluff Bird Sanctuary
About: Join us to remove woody invasives from the beautiful Lake Bluff Bird Sanctuary in Manistee County. We will be targeting species like Japanese barberry, autumn olive, and honeysuckle.
Grand Traverse County Woody Invasives Workshop and Bee
When: Saturday, September 10 — 9:00am-11:30am
Where: Boardman River Nature Center
About: Both the workshop and shrub removal will take place at the Boardman River Nature Center.
Leelanau County Woody Invasives Workbee
When: Friday, September 23 — 10:00am-noon
Where: Clay Cliffs Natural Area, Leland
About: Join ISN and the Leelanau Conservancy to remove woody invasives from the beautiful Clay Cliffs Natural Area in Leelanau County. We will be targeting species like buckthorn, autumn olive, and honeysuckle.
Benzie County Woody Invasives Workshop and Bee
When: Saturday, September 24 — 9:00am-11:30
Where: Grow Benzie and Railroad Point Natural Area
About: Meet at Grow Benzie for the workshop portion. After, we will carpool across the road to Railroad Point Natural Area for the ID hike and shrub removal.
Both of the Carrot Family (Apiaceae), it’s no wonder giant hogweed and cow- parsnip are mistaken for one another. Not only do they share similarities in appearance, but they prefer the same growing environments – roadsides, wood edges, ditches, and floodplains. Despite this, cow-parsnip is a native species and serves as a highly important pollen and nectar source for many bees and wasps. Giant hogweed, on the other hand, is highly invasive and easily out-competes nearby vegetation. Additionally, its sap causes chemical burns after the affected area is exposed to sunlight – a major reason for learning proper identification!
Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum)
Introduced as an ornamental in the early twentieth century and native to Asia, it is now prohibited under Michigan law.
Flowers- June and July, small and white, head is 8-20 inches across
Height- Can grow up to 20 feet tall
Leaves- Alternate, coarsely toothed and deeply lobed, divided into 1-3 large leaflets
Cow-parsnip (Heracleum maximum)
While still large compared to many other native plants, it is not nearly as tall as giant hogweed. Coming in contact can also result in photo-sensitivity but to a lesser degree. One must break open the plant to be exposed to the sap, whereas, just brushing up against hogweed can cause rashes.
Flowers- May and June, small and white, head is 2-8 inches across
Height- Can grow up to 9 feet tall
Leaves- Leaves divided into 3-5 coarsely toothed, lobed leaflets
To learn about several other look-a-likes, visit this site!
ISN hosted public workbees in Grand Traverse, Manistee, Benzie and Leelanau Counties. We would like to thank the 44 enthusiastic volunteers who put in over 132 hours of work pulling garlic mustard this month. With their help, ISN pulled more than 5,300 pounds from over 11 acres of high quality habitat. A big thanks to our partners, Oryana for providing a delicious garlic mustard lunch, our lunch host sites, and our volunteers for coming out rain or shine (or snow!) and making a huge dent in the populations of this invasive species at Magoon Creek, Tank Hill, Clay Cliffs, and the Nature Education Reserve at Oleson Bridge. Check out photos from our workbees!
Much of the garlic mustard we collect is shared with Paperworks Studios and turned into paper and greeting cards. Learn more about this exciting partnership as featured on 9&10 News and in the Record Eagle. Shop for garlic mustard greeting cards here!
We are gearing up for Japanese knotweed treatment! Japanese knotweed is a very tricky plant to control, and is a major threat to Michigan’s streams, wetlands, and other high quality habitats.
Key factsIntroduced: Introduced to the US in 1868 by settlers as a salad green and pot herb.
Key ID Features: Toothed, triangular to heart-shaped leaves. Rosettes of leaves or white flowers on tall plants.
Interesting tidbit: If harvested when young (before flowering), greens may be used in a garlicky salad green, or made into pesto! Garlic mustard has high levels of vitamins A and C.
What problems does garlic mustard cause?Like most invasive plants on the Top 20 list for the Grand Traverse region, garlic mustard replaces native plants in high quality natural areas, which in turn reduces critical food resources for birds, butterflies, and other wildlife. In addition to physically crowding out native plants-especially spring ephemerals like trillium and violets-garlic mustard releases chemicals into the soil that hinder the growth of other plants. Furthermore, few native herbivores will eat garlic mustard, giving it a large competitive advantage over native plants. The replacement of native plants by garlic mustard can hinder forest regeneration by limiting tree seedling growth. Garlic mustard seeds are able to live in the soil for at least 7 years before sprouting.
What does garlic mustard look like?
Garlic mustard is a biennial herb that usually grows to 2 to 3 feet when mature, though it spends its
Garlic mustard flowers and adult leaves. Photo by Wisconsin DNR.first growing season and the following winter as asmall leafy rosette. Leaves are triangular or heart-shaped, and are roughly and irregularly toothed. The second year stem is topped by clusters of small, white, 4-petaled flowers. All parts of the plant smell of garlic when crushed, especially early in the season. Adult plants die in midsummer, but persist as tall dead stalks with thin seed pods. Although tolerating a range of conditions, garlic mustard is most common in moist forest edges, open woods, and shaded roadsides.
How do I manage garlic mustard?
Pulling garlic mustard is very effective in small populations. Take care to remove the root, and pulling should be done inearly spring, before the plant goes to seed. Garlic mustard is an extremely hardy plant, and can re-sprout in a compost pile or if left out, and seeds can develop even if the plant was not flowering when pulled. There are many methods of disposing of pulled garlic mustard to explore. Larger populations may be managed through herbicide use; spraying is best done in early spring and late fall, when garlic mustard is one of the few green things, so there is little risk to native plants.
For more information on invasive plants:Visit HabitatMatters.org. You may also contact us to schedule an engaging presentation for your garden club or any group interested in improving landscapes for the benefit of natural areas.
Want to eat garlic mustard?Try one of these many resources for recipes, search for more, or make up your own!
Please make sure the area you harvest from has not been sprayed with herbicides.
Garlic mustard recipes from Friends of Silgo Creek
Garlic mustard and other recipes from Wildman Steve Brill
Eat it to Beat it! cookbook from Appalachian Forest Heritage Area
Roulade and ravioli from The 3 Foragers
From Pest to Pesto cookbook from Potomac Highlands CWPMA
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