About 50 volunteers rolled up their sleeves and dug their hands into the earth at Mary Knoll Park to remove invasive weeds that threaten the native species relied upon by birds and insects.
Helping at the 7th annual Weed-Out on Saturday morning were the Gerner family, Boy Scout Troop 23, the Brookfield Central High School Key Club, UW Extension, SAI Group and other individual volunteers.
The event is organized by Patty Garner, a neighbor of Mary Knoll Park fondly called "the Garlic Mustard lady."
For about 14 years she has been pulling the weed from Mary Knoll's woods and from her own lot not far from the park.
"I worked alone for awhile," she said.
Later she helped organize the annual community Weed Out, at which crews from the city's Parks, Recreation and Forestry department cut down buckthorn trees and haul them and honeysuckle bush to the Recycling Center for grinding.
Some of the volunteers come year after year, such as Greg Kubena, of New Berlin, who is a member of a regional chapter of the national group Wild Ones: Native Plants, Natural Landscapes.
Kubena and Gerner are hobbyists, whose day jobs don't involve landscaping or plant etymology. But they are well-versed in identifying native and non-native plants in the Mary Knoll woods, and in the negative impacts of allowing the weeds to overtake the ground.
"It's everywhere in Brookfield," Gerner said of garlic mustard. "If people know what to look for, they will see it everywhere."