Management of non-native, invasive plant species on the Green Mountain College campus was precipitated by the 2004 discovery of Garlic Mustard near the Poultney River. This invasive biennial herb from Europe appears to be very successful in North America because our native insects and other animals aren’t adapted to consume the plant – like most exotic invasive species, it lacks the natural controls that exist in its native range.
In 2005, Undergraduate Research Assistant Pearl Wetherall wrote a management plan for control of Garlic Mustard. That year, Forest Ecology and Management students began implementing the plan by organizing the first Earth Day Garlic Mustard Pull.
The College established its Invasive Species Control Policy in 2006. Currently, management focuses on five species:
Biennial and Perennial Herbs
Robust Wetland and Riparian Herbs
Japanese Knotweed (management plan)
These invasive plants are managed by a multifaceted team consisting of a part-time, year-round Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB) AmeriCorps member, a 3-person Natural Areas Crew in summer, funded in part by the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) of the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service, and a work-study student throughout the school year. This team eradicates invasive plants, manages data, writes management plans, and organizes students and other volunteers in classes, clubs, and at volunteer events.
A community-wide service day is held yearly on Earth Day to remove Garlic Mustard plants from campus lands. Service learning projects that involve management of invasive species are also encouraged.