The morning of our first Japanese Barberry Dumpster Day began with rain and an empty dumpster. However, at the closing of this event, the sun was shining and the 30-yard roll-off was teeming with barberry plants.
Japanese barberry is a highly invasive ornamental plant species that is still sold in nurseries and used by landscapers. Extremely hardy and lacking any predators, it quickly spreads into nearby natural areas -outcompeting native plants such as spring ephemerals and tree seedlings. Additionally, it is found to
harbor black-legged ticks which may carry Lyme Disease, making this plant both an ecological and public health threat.
Encouraging the removal of barberry from landscapes seemed to make perfect sense and thus, Dumpster Day was created. Landowners were encouraged to remove barberry plants, bring them to ISN, and in exchange, they received a $5.00 coupon for a non-invasive alternative - up to $50.00. Select participants from the Go Beyond Beauty program are accepting these coupons.
Community members from Benzie, Grand Traverse, Leelanau, and Manistee counties brought barberry plants of all sizes. Some happily threw a single, young seedling over the side of the dumpster while others arrived hauling monstrous plants on trailers. By the end of the day, we had collected more than 100 plants - that's thousands of potential seeds that have been prevented from spreading into our critical natural areas!
Thank you to everyone who participated in this exciting event. Stay tuned as we hope to schedule at least one more Dumpster Day this summer.
ISN has completed a garlic mustard workbee in each of the four counties within our service area - Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Benzie, and Manistee. In total, we had 46 volunteers, treated 10 acres, and collected 80 bags of garlic mustard!
Employees and volunteers were rewarded with a complimentary lunch from ISN which contained garlic mustard. Minestrone soup and garlic mustard-pesto rolls, made by Oryana, was a great way to end the workbees, filling our bellies and warming us up.
If you want to join us for more workbees, we have our baby's breath events starting in June. Visit our website for additional details.
May is American Wetlands Month! Wetlands are an important part of the natural ecosystem and habitat for many native species.
Wetlands remove excess nutrients, toxins, and sediment from the water that flows through them. This is an important function that is key in keeping our local waters and environment in a healthy condition. Wetlands also reduce flooding by absorbing excess rain or river water.
To keep a well functioning wetland, it is also important to eradicate any invasive species from the area. Invasive species such as phragmites can quickly take over an area, reducing the function of the wetland and reducing the number of wildlife and plant life the wetland would otherwise support.
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