With continued support from the Ecology Wildlife Foundation to eradicate invasive species, Austin Jamison of Chesapeake Wildlife Heritage went into the Helms Phillips Forest to tackle garlic mustard and Japanese stilt grass. The garlic mustard effort also let the Foundation for the first time use a Master Naturalist volunteer to audit the work. In his Master Naturalist capacity, former program director Jeff Smith who has subsequently joined the board, visited the Helms Phillips forest.

Jeff’s July 2014 garlic mustard report read: “I surveyed the spray areas as noted in the map provided. In general, the garlic mustard was mostly gone from the areas. It is, however, not eradicated as my finds will show. I do believe, however, the spraying has made a huge impact in that my sightings were of singular plants or a very minor incursion of multiple plants (maybe 2 to 4). As an aside, stilt grass is quite noticeable on the top ridge along the trail.”

Austin took aim at the remainder of the garlic mustard on a subsequent spraying visit. “I also found some very small ailanthus on the ridge today and sprayed what I found,” Austin said. He proposed treating the areas for 2 more years, once each April and June, to really get them under control.

Rick Helms continued work on ailanthus eradication with the help of independent contractors Kris Smith and Joe Huber. Much of the effort involved clearing fallen trees from previous poisoning sessions.