Arm Yourself Against Invasives

Garlic mustard. Photograph by Ian Cunliffe/Geograph

Riding my bike at Dewey Mountain Recreation Center a week ago, I passed a handful of plants that just didn’t scan right among the ferns and wild lily of the valley. When I went back for a better look, they turned out to be garlic mustard, identified by heart-shaped leaves and the fact that they grew at the edge of a trail that had been resurfaced with fill two summers ago. I got a trash bag and pulled 14 plants before they went to seed.

Now common throughout most of New York State, garlic mustard still comes as a surprise in Saranac Lake. It felt good to catch it early. All credit goes to the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program, which trained me as a volunteer a few years back. Turns out that once you learn a certain leaf, it jumps out of the scenery, even when you’re not looking for it.

APIPP offers free training to anyone, and not just in plant ID but also insects and aquatic animals. If you want to know what’s in your yard, or in your favorite lake, or along your favorite trail, here’s a list of trainings you can attend all around the park this summer.

Aquatic Invasive Plant ID and Survey Techniques Trainings: Four-hour session that teaches volunteers how to identify and report aquatic invasive plants in Adirondack waters.

Thursday, June 20th
Darrin Freshwater Institute – Bolton Landing
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Tuesday, June 25th
Paul Smith’s College
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Thursday, June 27th
Raquette Lake School
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Terrestrial Trainings: A series of land invasive plant identification and management demonstrations for landowners at various locations across the region this summer.

Tuesday, July 9th
SUNY ESF Ranger School – Wanakena
1 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Thursday, July 25th
Bolton Town Hall – Bolton
10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Tuesday, August 13th
North Elba Town Hall – Lake Placid
1 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Aquatic Invasive Animal ID Training: Learn about aquatic invasive animals on the move in the Adirondack region and how to do a quick scan of your local lake.

August 1st
Paul Smith’s College, 1 – 3 p.m.

Japanese Knotweed Management Summit: Hear from the experts about Japanese knotweed and see how communities are dealing with this challenging invasive. Learn how your community can work towards control of this species.

August 5th
North Creek, Tannery Pond Community Center
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Adirondack Invasive Species Awareness Week: Events region-wide. July 7–13. See for updates.

To RSVP for any of the above events contact Billy Martin, APIPP Education Intern: 518-576-2082 x 120 or email:

Also, as part of the Adirondack Challenge in Indian Lake, there will be an Invasive Insect Symposium on July 16 (9:30 a.m. to noon at the Ski Hut off Route 30). You can learn tree ID as well as tree-killing pests Asian long-horned beetle and emerald ash borer—and what to do if you find them. Municipal staff, community planners, landowners, loggers, foresters, landscapers, and hikers are encouraged to attend. For more information or to register for this free event, contact the Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District at 518-548-3991 or by July 10.

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