Ann Seymour and Steve Goyeche are “pulling together for biodiversity” by helping eliminate invasive plants from their property in Belfountain.

Three and-a-half years ago Ann and Steve moved from Etobicoke to a picturesque cottage in Belfountain, overlooking the cold, spring-fed waters of the Credit River. Their property was first settled in 1825 when William Frank built a grist mill on the site. Remnants of the historic mill and dam still exist today.

The view from Ann and Steve’s living room is breathtaking. “We see all sorts of things here,” says Steve, referring to the plants and animals outside their home. Unfortunately, they could also see invasive garlic mustard spread over meadows and river banks choking out ferns and other native plants on their land.

Garlic mustard is often overlooked in its first year. It is frequently mistaken as a native plant. By its second year, garlic mustard grows up to a metre in height. Once introduced to an area, garlic mustard out-competes native plants. It destroys the links between native species that have co-evolved over eons and disrupts natural communities (ecosystems) and processes.Garlic mustard is found across North America and is a growing problem in the Credit River Watershed.

garlic mustard flower

Garlic Mustard Flower - Sannse: Wikipedia

Two years ago, Ann and Steve took part in an invasive species focused workshop organized by CVC where they learned more about invasive plants and how to eliminate them. As an environmental educator, Ann had some experience with invasive plants. The workshop was an opportunity to tackle the problem with support from experienced staff. “We are fortunate to have CVC,” adds Ann.

Through CVC, Ann and Steve learned the importance of having a management approach, or a plan, to get rid of invasive species. To reduce the risk of spreading invasive plants and its seed they were instructed to choose set pathways on their property and stick to them. They were told to remove “satellite” patches of garlic mustard before tackling larger sections. After removing invasive species, they learned it is important to replace them with native plants and seeds to ‘keep out’ their invasive counterparts.

Since then, Ann and Steve have been waging war against garlic mustard on their property. They have been working with neighbours and the wider community in events such as Pulling for Biodiversity Day, held last May by the Belfountain Community Organization in collaboration with the Town of Caledon.

Another invasive species pull day is planned in Belfountain again this spring. Belfountain Public School will be participating. In the meantime, Ann and Steve are vigilant in keeping garlic mustard from overtaking their property. “We’re winning,” adds Steve.

There is a garlic mustard festival currently planned for May 27, 2012 at Belfountain Conservation Area, from 10a.m. – 3 p.m. This is put on by the Garlic Mustard Busters at Belfountain Public School. Check their website for more information.

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