KENT COUNTY — Invasive plants are germinating in this wet, spring-like weather, environmentalists are asking the public to start removing them in their own yards to help stop the spread and protect our native wildlife species.
Marnie TenCate calls herself ‘the crazy weed-pulling lady,’ however it’s only because she’s so passionate about saving the environment and knowledgable when it comes to what’s growing in the ground. Tencate has been teaching in the classroom for 30-years and spends her time teaching people how to remove invasive plants and non-native species from the earth. Tencate now urging the public to use their quarantine time wisely.
“There seems to be one big bad guy right now and that is the Garlic Mustard, TenCate said. “It is so invasive, this one plant will produce 3000-4000 seeds by the time it goes to seed. And so we really want to grab this baby right now.”
TenCate leads the charge in Kent County and the surrounding area to organize groups for the purpose of saving the environment. However, the pandemic is prohibiting them from meeting.
“So if families can get out and just get their own property, check their woods, check their side-slopes and entrance of their neighborhood; I see people have these planted around their mailboxes by accident,” TenCate said. “They probably think it’s a beautiful light flower but it will take over, it will take over your yard, your gardens, your yard, your backyard, and your woods.”
TenCate says this is one of dozens of invasive plants with thousands of seeds that spread like wildfire. Garlic Mustard dominates an ecosystem and reduces native diversity of plants and trees from growing. In addition to the economic harm and inability for animals to even eat this plant, TenCate says invasive plants can be harmful to human health.
“It's the perfect outdoor recess activity for families because it just comes out so easily,” said TenCate. “You can just bag it and put it out on the curb or in the garbage to get rid of.” You can get a quick glimpse of invasive species at the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network, now leading the charge with a fun invasive species challenge to help revitalize Michigan’s ecosystem.
June 13th, TenCate also plans to gather a group at the Cannonsburg State Game area to attack the Bittersweet that borders the land to nip it in the bud before it spreads.