One challenge every land trust faces is managing invasive species. Invasive plants and wildlife are often accidentally brought to Ontario from other parts of the world and, in the absence of natural predators and competitors, crowd out native species. Some familiar invaders include dog-strangling vine, emerald ash borer and garlic mustard.
This summer Ontario Nature targeted periwinkle at Cawthra Mulock Nature Reserve with the help of the York-Simcoe Naturalists. The original property owners planted periwinkle in their garden – it now covers a huge area in the nearby forest. If we leave the periwinkle to continue its slow takeover of the forest floor, we would lose numerous woodland grasses and wildflowers.
I was thoroughly impressed by the volunteers who came out. They were enthusiastic hard workers who removed 96 kilograms of periwinkle and planted 160 wildflowers, grasses and shrubs in only 5 hours! During two events this year, we removed a total of 447 kilograms of periwinkle from Cawthra Mulock Nature Reserve. A special thanks to the York Simcoe Naturalists for organizing a pull in April and for monitoring the reserve for us.
Along with imparting a sense of accomplishment and victory over a force threatening our native diversity, removing periwinkle works up quite an appetite! Lunch at our September event, sponsored by Veresen Inc.’s York Energy Centre, was a delicious spread of fresh sandwiches, veggies and sweets that satisfied hungry volunteers, and energized us for the afternoon.
A big thank you to all who helped us tackle periwinkle on the reserve. Ontario Nature doesn’t use any chemicals to reduce the amount or extent of invasive vegetation on our nature reserves. Instead, we rely on the dedication and hard work of our volunteers to manually remove invasive plants.
Our thanks to the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation for making the September Periwinkle Pull possible!
Stephanie Muckle is Ontario Nature’s Nature Reserves Assistant