2024 Temporary Volunteer - Invasive Species Removal (Garlic Mustard) Sunday, May 26 2024

This is an opportunity to assist in the removal of an invasive plant species. Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) blooms from May-June as single stalks. During the blooming stage, Garlic Mustard is very easy to identify and is an excellent plant to start an 'Invasive Species Conquest' against. Garlic Mustard reproduces by seed and is biennial, meaning each plant lives for 2 years, reproduces, and dies. They do not bloom or seed until the second year, thus many plants are missed during removal and the plants 'reappear' in the same area the following year. 

Our goal is to remove as many plants as possible early in the blooming season BEFORE they go to seed (fingers crossed) and repeat the process annually for 5 years. Of course, this signup is for only the first removal. 

Powerline corridors and roadsides are notorious for invasive species. Seeds often escape into the forested areas surrounding them, compromising the natural communities. While this species is incredibly easy to remove via hand-pulling, these disturbed areas often have high grasses increasing encounters with thorny plants, chiggers, ticks, etc. Trail of Tears also has a healthy population of Poison Ivy. 

Thus, required personal protective equipment (PPE) includes long pants and closed-toe shoes.

Recommended equipment includes bug spray and gaiters/tuck pants into socks/duct tape (chiggers are no fun). Snacks and water are always recommend when working outdoors. 

The park will supply work gloves (sizes M-XL) and trash bags (to bag the plants).

Please don't hesitate to contact with any questions! Volunteers should meet at the Visitor Center and notify staff of arrival.   

More info regarding Garlic Mustard can be found here: https://mdc.mo.gov/trees-plants/invasive-plants/garlic-mustard-control

About Trail of Tears State Park

Gain a better understanding of one of the saddest chapters in American history at Trail of Tears State Park, where nine of the 13 Cherokee Indian groups being relocated to Oklahoma crossed the Mississippi River during harsh winter conditions in 1838 and 1839. The park’s visitor center tells the tale of the thousands who died on the forced march, as well as the park’s many natural features. The park also has a cheerier side: shaded picnic sites, hiking and horse trails, opportunities to fish in both the Mississippi River and Lake Boutin, and majestic views of the Mississippi River and beyond. Its location right on the river makes the park one of the best places in Missouri for viewing migratory waterfowl.