Cambridge Pod Patrol
Black Swallow-wort was first found growing spontaneously here in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is an invasive vine that is spreading rapidly throughout Cambridge and the Boston area, making it a challenge to home gardeners and those working to maintain healthy and diverse habitats for wildlife, native plants and people. If you find it growing on your property, we recommend carefully diggin it up. However, if you see it growing on hedges and fences, pulling seed pods and tossing them in the trash is one thing we can do to keep it from spreading to new locations.
This year's pilot Cambridge-wide Black Swallow-wort campaign was a great success! Fresh Pond Reservation has far fewer pods than last year. City council supported our outreach efforts and many people began to recognize Black Swallow-wort, pulled pods off the fence at Fresh Pond, and started working on it in their yards and neighborhoods. A few dozen Cambridge residents registered their blocks and hung flyers on doorknobs, we had a table at the main library on 4 Saturday mornings in August, and we enjoyed chatting with folks and giving out buttons and flyers at the Urban Ag Fair. In addition, City Sprouts youth worked to eliminate it from all 12 of their gardens, there was a Cambridge Chronicle article about us, Fresh Pond Reservation hosted several Cambridge youth groups who came to help out, Harvard students are organizing a pod pull on Mass. Ave., and new campaigns are springing up in Somerville and Boston.
Props (or 'proper respect') to our steering committee: Rebecca Ramsay, who helped pass the City Council Resolution, got us out to the Ag Fair, and was always ready with ideas and help, Eve Golden, who initiated and organized the library gig, Liz Bolton, who got our Facebook site going and whose CirclesAndSquares.com sponsorship paid for the fantastic buttons and bags, Helen Snively, who got us started, helped with logistics, and kept our meetings fun and full of energy, Claudia Thompson, who got Grow Native Massachusetts behind this effort, helped out with flyer edits, and taught us all about Black Swallow-wort, and Janet Burns, whose thoughful ideas helped us to flesh out and clarify our goals and strategies. Also thanks to Henrietta Davis, who sponsored the City Council order, Friends of Fresh Pond Reservation, whose sponsorship helped us publicize the Kickoff event, and Chuck Arnold at Fresh Pond Trader Joe's, whose snacks for the July 12th Campaign Kickoff at Fresh Pond kept us well-hydrated and energized.