Garlic mustard is green, mean and taking over the town. The invasive plant has been spreading and outcompeting native plants for almost 200 years. Students at Belfountian Public School have had enough. Named the “Garlic Mustard Busters”, these students are dedicated to uprooting garlic mustard wherever possible. Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) and the Garlic Mustard Busters host their third annual Garlic Mustard Festival on Sunday, May 24 at Belfountain Conservation Area, 10 Credit Street, Belfountain.

The community is invited to come out and join the fun. A garlic mustard pull competition starts at 9 a.m. There will be a short bus ride to the pull site. Participants receive a prize ballot for every bag of garlic mustard pulled. At noon, the bus returns to the conservation area for a free barbecue lunch, music and activities for all ages.

The Belfountain Garlic Mustard Festival is the idea of Belfountain Public School students. Grade four through six students, led by grade four teacher Janice Haines, hope to educate neighbours and surrounding communities about garlic mustard and its negative impact on the environment.

“The kids under Ms. Haines’ guidance are working so very hard to organize this festival and are doing a wonderful job,” says David Jobe, a Belfountain community organizer. “We can be rest assured that as these youngsters grow up and contribute even more to society, the world will be a better place because of their action.”

The event received financial support from the Biodiversity Education Awareness Network, Canadian Wildlife Federation and TD Friends of the Environment Foundation. For more information please visit www.garlicmustardbusters.ca.

Participants under 18 must read CVC’s youth volunteer policy and bring a waiver signed by a parent/guardian. The policy is available at http://www.creditvalleyca.ca/learn-and-get-involved/volunteer/volunteer-policies-and-waivers.

Participants should dress for the weather and wear long pants and safety boots if possible. Gloves are provided but extras would be helpful. Please bring your own water bottles, plates and cutlery. A limited quantity will be provided.

Those interested in participating are asked to contact CVC’s Adam Wilford at 905-670-1615 x441 or [email protected].

Garlic mustard is an invasive herb native to Europe. It was brought to North America in the early 1800s for use as an edible herb. Available in the early spring and high in vitamins A and C, it has a strong, distinctive smell similar to garlic. Since its arrival in North America it has escaped into the wild and is now one of Ontario’s most aggressive invasive plants. The biennial plant dominates the groundcover of forests, gardens and other areas. Since its introduction, garlic mustard spread gradually but saw a population explosion in the last 20 to 30 years. It is now widespread across north-eastern North America south of the Canadian Shield. It has also been found to the west in Vancouver and California. Garlic mustard is found in many forests and sites throughout the Credit River watershed.

Conservation Authorities are a provincial/municipal partnership. CVC was established by an Act of the Province of Ontario in 1954 with a mandate to protect all natural resources, other than minerals, in the area drained by the Credit River. We have been working for 60 years with our partner municipalities and stakeholders to protect and enhance the natural environment of the Credit River watershed for present and future generations. CVC is a member of Conservation Ontario.

Photo:
A CVC volunteer removing invasive plants.
https://cvc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/invasive-pull.jpg

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Media Contact:
Jon MacMull
Marketing & Communications Specialist
Credit Valley Conservation
905-670-1615 ext. 385
[email protected]

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