The team from Skillet Creek Media won the 2016 garlic mustard team challenge at Devil’s Lake State Park on Saturday, pulling over 200lbs of garlic mustard in just over 2 hours.
The reason winning sucks is because if we pull back the “curtain”, the Skillet Creek team was just me and my son and we were competing with 2 other participants who worked along a trail out on Steinke Basin. Otherwise, no one showed up. No teams from “fans of the park”. No teams from friends of the park. No one. Yeah, just let that sink in a minute.
If two of us could pull over 200lbs in a couple of hours, what could 10 people have done? Twenty? I mean, let’s be real for a second. Huge swaths of the park’s habitat are changing quickly as garlic mustard spreads along the trails and roadsides and pours into the forest understory. We know that with hard work and diligence we can make a difference. The staff is buried and garlic mustard is just one issue facing the park as the climate changes, the enviroment degrades and visitor numbers go up and up and up. What’s needed is some more hands; active volunteers…
After a while some weeds appeared among the stalks of wheat.
One day the little red hen asked:
“Who will help me to weed this wheat?”
“Not I,” said the duck. “That sort of work doesn’t agree with me.”
“Not I”, said the cat. “I would not be able to tell the weeds from the wheat”.
“Very well, I will then”, said the little red hen, and she did.
Putting the Little Red Hen aside, there are some problems that money in the bank won’t solve. You can’t just “Facebook” invasives away or clear brush from the trails in committee. To keep the park beautiful and sustain it long into the future it will take folks willing to get their hands dirty. It’s a “walk the walk” thing.
That said, a huge shout out with horns and fanfare to the folks who worked to clean up the Baraboo river on Saturday while we were out pulling garlic mustard. We appreciate your work for our community. And a big thank you to the folks who’ve signed up to volunteer at the Devil’s Lake Nature Center to help with various projects this summer.
Oh yes, and to the folks to stopped by to ask what we were doing and to those who said “Thank you.”.. We really appreciate it! And next time, you’re invited to join us in caring for the park we all love!
If you’d like to volunteer at Devil’s Lake State Park click here. (THANK YOU!)
** And of course, my crazy opinions are my own and often caused by too many hours of isolation in the deep dark woods. My posts certainly don’t represent the opinions of the Wisconsin DNR or any other group, organization or book club.