Margaret Smith Wins Invader Crusader Award

Each year, the Wisconsin Invasive Species Council honors Wisconsin citizens and organizations for their significant contribution to prevent, control or eradicate invasive species that harm Wisconsin’s lands, waters and wetlands. A record number of nominations were received for the “Invader Crusader” award this year, and Margaret Smith, rural St. Croix County resident, was one of only 4 individuals state-wide to win the award for 2020.

Margaret has been involved with invasive species for many years, but over the past two years she has worked tirelessly in Pierce and St. Croix Counties on efforts to control invasive and dangerous wild parsnip. Working with UW-Extension Weed Specialist Mark Renz, Margaret spearheaded an effort to collect information on the prevalence of wild parsnip along the roadways of Kinnickinnic township. She organized a group of Master Gardeners and other volunteers who used a GPS mapping tool to identify the areas of low or high populations of wild parsnip. This allowed the township to use the best control method for the area, saving money on unneeded pesticide and protecting local wildflowers and pollinators. Additionally, Margaret coordinated educational efforts including a class on identification and control for local property owners.

UW-Extension Horticulture Outreach Specialist Diana Alfuth, who nominated Margaret for the Invader Crusader Award, said “Margaret is passionate about the protection of the environment, wildlife and local ecosystems, and she is very deserving of being recognized for her efforts with this award.”

Anyone having questions about invasive plant species and their control can contact Diana Alfuth, Horticulture Outreach Specialist for Pierce and St. Croix Counties, at 715-273-6781.