2018 Volunteer Work Day: Invasive Garlic Mustard Pull in the Roan

This year, Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy is partnering with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, US Forest Service, and Roan Mountain State Park to remove invasive garlic mustard from the park and heavily trafficked highways around Carver’s Gap and SAHC conservation properties in the Highlands of Roan. Plucking out the pesky invaders when they’re young and tender isn’t hard work, but it does take a lot of hands!

Location: Roan Mountain State Park in Roan Mountain, TN 

Date: Saturday, April 21

Start time: 9:30 am
9:30 to 9:45 – Introduction, safety talk, etc. Volunteers will be briefed, divided into groups, and dispersed across the Park and along public roadsides to pull garlic mustard. There will need to be some shuttling and driving of personal vehicles to make this happen.

Work from 9:45 am-1:00 pm

Lunch and “weigh in” from 1:00 to 2:00

Food/Drinks: Please bring your own snacks, lunch and bottled water. Lunch is not provided. A cooler of water will be available at lunchtime.

Equipment/Precautions: Work gloves and trash bags will be provided. Feel free to bring personal gloves or a trowel. Pulling garlic mustard is usually easy, but a trowel can be helpful for compacted roadside soil and stubborn roots. You will need a hat and/or sunscreen, long pants, sturdy shoes, lunch, water, a warm layer for high elevation hiking, and rain gear. If you are allergic to poison ivy, consider wearing long sleeves and pants. You may want a bag to keep your items with you throughout the day. It may be difficult to return to your car while we are working. Some work sites are very steep. Please let me know before the workday if you prefer to work on flatter terrain or have medical conditions. First aid kits will be on site.

Contact info: For more info or questions, contact Roan Stewardship Director Marquette Crockett at or 828.253.0095 ext 210.
What is Garlic Mustard?
Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) is an invasive, non-native plant, which has infested many parts of
the Southern Appalachian region. Because it has few natural enemies in North America, it is capable
of out-competing native plants by depriving them of sunlight, moisture and space. Garlic mustard is
a biennial plant, meaning it has a two year life cycle. In its first year, it develops kidney-shaped
leaves that grow close to the ground in what is called a basal rosette; the leaves smell like garlic
when crushed. In their second year, the plants rapidly grow upward and develop small white
flowers. The flowers are soon replaced by slender seed pods, which are capable of spreading
hundreds of seeds once mature.   
Garlic mustard is a hardy plant. If you pull the plant and leave it on the ground, it may re-root or
have enough energy stored in its taproot to produce viable seed after being pulled. Most compost
piles aren’t maintained in a way that gets hot enough to kill the seed, which means you could end up
spreading garlic mustard with your compost (The Stewardship Network).  Removing garlic mustard from thoroughfares such as Roan Mountain State Park and public roadsides is crucial to controlling the establishment and spread of this invasive species in our area. Please RSVP by emailing if you are interested. Let’s get ’em!

Conservation Leadership Corps on the Roan

On Tuesday, June 21, we were invited to assist the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Conservation Leadership Corps and Tennessee Eastman Hiking and Canoeing Club (TEHCC) with trail improvements leading to Jane Bald in the Highlands of Roan. Our Roan AmeriCorps member Travis Bordley and CTNC Diversity in Conservation intern Tamia Dame had a lively work day with eager interns from widespread home locations, including New Orleans, Dallas, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Carl Fritz, representing TEHCC, explained how recent rain has eroded gravel from sections of the Appalachian Trail, causing large puddles to form along some stretches. This has led hikers to form a secondary path to the right of the Trail. The mission on this workday was to restore the designated trail and discourage off-trail hiking by barricading the secondary path. Read more

Mars Hill University students manage habitat in the Roan

Near the end of their Spring semester, a group of dedicated Mars Hill University (MHU) students spent a Saturday volunteering for “the good of a bird that can fit in the palm of your hand,” according to workday organizer Travis Bordley, SAHC’s Roan AmeriCorps member.

Led by Professor Laura Boggess, the thirteen student volunteers helped manage habitat for Golden-winged Warblers (GWWA) along the Appalachian Trail in the Highlands of Roan. The workday was supported with a license plate grant from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC).

“With the support from Laura and the ATC, the volunteer engagement for this workday was at an all time high,” said Travis. “Now THAT is the kind of hustle we like to see from the future leaders of conservation in our landscape.” Read more


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