Invasive Species Program

April 23 – September 24 | Second Tuesday | 10 am-Noon   *   Fourth Tuesday | 6 pm – 8 pm

Help treat and remove a variety of invasive plant species at Cartier Park. A discussion to identify these plants will take place before we begin. AFFEW partners with the City of Ludington, Mason-Lake Conservation District and North Country CISMA to remove/treat these aggressive plants. Below is more information on some of the challenging invasive plants at Cartier Park.

Check the schedule on our Events and Activities page for dates we’ll be meeting. Meet at the Ludington Central Bark Park at the end of Rath Ave. Bring water, gloves and wear long pants, long sleeved shirt and closed toed shoes. Event will be held in fair weather, and sometimes wraps up early, depending on site conditions. Please note: both September events will be at 10 am.  To be added to our email list to receive reminders about upcoming events and cancellations due to weather, contact Sara Bolan at or by phone 815-592-9032.

Unfortunately some of these invasive species can still be bought at nurseries and big box stores. When considering plants for your property choose native species over invasive.  Once an invasive plant escapes into a natural area it can cause significant issues for native plants and wildlife. This includes altering soil chemistry in a way that gives future generations of invasive plants a competitive advantage.

Below is information compiled by Dave Dister, local botanist and author of The Birds of Mason County, Michigan, regarding invasive species he has identified at Cartier Park and his extensive research on the “Vascular Flora of Ludington State Park”. He’s also provided additional resources you may find interesting.

Michigan Flora On-Line ( Michigan Flora ) [note that distribution maps by county don’t distinguish between native plants and escapes from cultivation, though species accounts may comment on that]
A Field Guide to the Natural Communities of Michigan (Joshua G. Cohen, Michael A. Kost, Bradford S. Slaughter, & Dennis A. Albert), MNFI, Michigan State University Press, 2015
Native American Medicinal Plants, An Ethnobotanical Dictionary, Daniel E. Moerman, Timber Press, 2009

Learn more about invasive species and how to report them on North Country CISMA‘s website. View their High Priority Species  page for more information on identify invasive plant species in Michigan.

U Dig It Community Garden!

U Dig It Community Garden is a membership based organic garden that was established in 2010. We’re located behind the United Methodist Church of Ludington. Garden boxes are provided for personal use in a organic and sustainable environment. We depend on our members to volunteer by maintaining the garden boxes, grounds and equipment. Our journey with AFFEW began in January 2022 when our organizations merged!

In the fall of 2021 we began our expansion of the garden. By the fall of 2023 eighteen additional block beds were installed with the generous support of SRM Concrete  through their Giving Back program. We also received support from Lowe’s of Ludington and T & M Landscaping and Tree Removal as in-kind sponsors who provided equipment and labor to complete the project. After a busy spring and with the help of our volunteers, UDICG now has 65 beds!

In addition to personal boxes, we work directly with our local food pantry Lakeshore Food Club. We provide healthy produce in support of food security for our community. Many of the seeds grown for this program are donated by our partner Baker Creek Seed Company. Since 2021 our members and volunteers donated more than twenty-five percent of all produce grown!

In 2022 with the help of Michigan State University Extension, we introduced the U Dig It! Gardening Series. This educational series is for our members and the community.

In 2024 we’ll partner with AFFEW to host Dig It Youth Summer Program for 9-11 year olds. This is an interactive program that grows, tastes and donates produce to our community. They also learn and experience a variety of aspects about nature, birds and our environment…and it’s FREE! Learn more about Dig It Youth Summer Program!.


Garden Bed Availability
Existing members are given the opportunity to retain their beds before it is opened up to the public. We are currently full, but if you’re interested in being placed on the list for next years consideration, contact Sara Bolan, UDICG Director.

UDICG Mission
To educate its members and the general public in healthy eating by promoting sustainable gardening, organic practices, composting and environmental education for children and adults. Through volunteerism and donations from our gardeners, more than twenty-five percent of the produce is provided to support food security for our community.

When should I start my seeds?
It’s always a challenge to decide when it’s the right time to start seeds. Here’s a handy seed starting calculator that helps take the mystery out of when to plant! Download the Spring Seed Starting Calendar for Ludington.

Help support AFFEW and UDICG by becoming a member or making a tax deductible donation!

Microplastics in the Great Lakes

Below is a rebroadcast of a video presentation given last year by Art Hirsch on microplastics in the Great Lakes.

Microplastics in the Great Lakes 

Art Hirsch will discuss the sources, impacts, legislation and mitigation actions to address microplastics. Microplastics in the Great Lakes is an emerging water quality issue that has the potential of impacting human health and the aquatic environment. It has been estimated that microplastics are consumed by the US population at a rate of 5 grams per week; this is weight of a credit card. Microplastics are found in our food, water and even beer along the Great Lakes. Fish are ingesting microplastics that causes them to starve. Over 22 million pounds of plastic enter the Great Lakes every year and Lake Michigan is the #1 source.

Art Hirsch is a former environmental consultant with over 30 years of experience. He lives in Boulder Colorado and spends his summers in Pentwater, Michigan. He is originally from North Muskegon, Michigan and he received his Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan State University and a Master of Science degree from the University of Colorado. His expertise is in the areas of water quality, stormwater management, sustainability and environmental impact assessments. He is a member of the Climate Reality Project founded by former Vice President Gore and the For the Love of Water organization located in Traverse City and the Great Lakes Plastic Pollution Solutions Coalition. He is currently working on the Enbridge Line 5 Shutdown, GHG reductions associated with transportation, oil and gas operations and microplastics.

Recorded Presentations

AFFEW Earth Day Celebration April 22, 2023

Keynote Speaker Dave Dempsey being interviewed by AFFEW Board Member Sharon Edger.
Jim McGrath presents different species of snakes native to Michigan.
Information on invasive species featuring Vicki Sawicki of NCCISMA and Bri Jasinski of Mason-Lake Conservation District.

AFFEW Annual Meeting November 21, 2021

AFFEW Earth Day Celebration April 22, 2021