2014 saw ISN trying new things, strengthening existing relationships, and getting our hands dirty!
Early in the year, ISN focused on our Go Beyond Beauty program. With a survey to participants and a workshop for all interested parties, we managed not only to cultivate our partnerships, but increased participation. in 2014, Go Beyond Beauty had 7 nursery participants and 12 landscapers! Not only does this speak well for these businesses, but the northwest Michigan region is getting on the map in a big way–many people at conferences throughout the Midwest had heard about the program, and wanted to start one of their own! A big THANK YOU is due to our dedicated garden professionals for making our partnership the envy of the Great Lakes region.
Once spring had sprung, we moved outdoors for Gourmet Garlic Mustard Hunts in each county. Due to the exceptionally late spring, the pull in Leelanau County was canceled, but the pulls in Benzie, Grand Traverse, and Manistee counties were well-attended and well-received. We were able to control adult garlic mustard plants in over 15 acres, and went on to fill our volunteer’s tummies with delicious garlic mustard lunches catered by Oryana’s Lake Street Kitchen. If you didn’t get a chance to taste the garlic-and-garlic-mustard pinwheels, you missed out on a scrumptious treat–better luck this year.
Over the summer, ISN tried something new–a “check-out” crew. Our three fantastic seasonal workers, Lindsay Sutherland and Sarah Green, led by Chris Garrock, spent the season zipping around the four counties to help partners with high-priority projects. They controlled dune invaders at Arcadia Dunes, zapped Oriental bittersweet with Manistee National Forest, pulled acres of garlic mustard with Congregational Summer Assembly, protected the Brown Bridge bottomlands from enterprising invasives, and attacked a host of invaders with Leelanau Conservancy. This unconventional setup worked remarkably well, with partners offering up important projects and being models of communication. We hope to continue this successful trend in 2015!
We said our goodbyes in fall, and picked up the wagon train to present at conferences and conventions near and far. ISN presented everywhere from the Upper Midwest Invasive Species Conference in Duluth to the Michigan Association of Conservation Districts conference in Gaylord, and even at Pesticide Clinics in Grand Traverse and Leelanau counties. Over 15 gatherings heard a presentation about ISN between September and November alone, and all were well-received with lots of questions and enthusiasm.
Thank you for making 2014 a great year–now let’s make 2015 even better!
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