2021 4-H Wildside Spring Invasive Species Challenge
Are you ready for the best 4-H Wildside challenge yet? The 2021 4-H Wildside Spring Invasive Species Challenge will expand your understanding of the environment around you and get you more in touch with your Wildside.
Invasive species are exotic plant and animal life that is not native to the natural habitat. These species can out-compete and threaten the health of the other species native to the area and the entire habitat. New Hampshire boasts rich and diverse habitats, and this challenge will encourage you to explore them all and learn about them through the lens of what’s NOT supposed to be there.
How It Works
This challenge will function like Pokémon Go or geocaching in the sense that you will discover a location where an invasive is, go there, and search around for it. And this challenge will operate like a scavenger hunt in the sense that you will have a list of invasive species to locate and document. Successfully discover and document six out of nine invasive species on the list and you will earn your exclusive Invasive Species Challenge patch.
We have created a Field Book you can use to log each species you find, which also includes resources and guidelines. (Tip: you will need to print the booklet front-and-back - flip on the short edge - and fold it in half to view the pages in the correct order! Reach out to your County 4-H Office if you need a Field Book mailed to your home.) Download here:
Feel free to submit a species not listed here – just submit at least 6!
- Glossy buckthorn
- Oriental bittersweet
- Japanese Knotweed
- Multiflora rose
- Burning bush
- Autumn olive
- Japanese barberry
- Garlic mustard (Going to a garlic mustard pull and documenting it in your Field Book will qualify.)
How to Participate
- Register via 4HOnline 2.0. The Invasive Species Challenge runs from April 22nd (Earth Day!) to July 31st. You can register to enter via 4HOnline 2.0 at any time. We are excited to launch on Earth Day and extend the challenge into the summer.
- Use your Field Book to identify as many species as possible, many of which are more noticeable in the warmer months.
- Send your Field Book in to your County 4-H Office by the Challenge end date to qualify for a patch OR upload it using the this survey.
Youth ages 5-18 who complete the challenge are eligible to earn patches and win prizes. If you wish, feel free make adjustments to modify this Challenge to accommodate other types of learners and learning styles. Just send in a brief write-up along with your Field Book explaining the modifications you made!
Some of you may know where one or maybe even a few of these invasive species are, but finding at least six may be oddly difficult. There are a couple web resources that can help. On April 22, 4-H Wildside intern Karlee O'Keefe hosted a virtual Zoom tutorial for EDDMapS and iMapInvasives, both of which have different features that can guide you to each species. The recording of the session can be found here.