Last fall, an Olmsted County 4-H club discovered invasive mystery snails in one of their local ponds when doing their semi-annual community pride project.
After using an app – called iNaturalist– to confirm the identity of the snails, club members reported the presence of the invasive species to EDDMapS, an app used by Minnesota professionals to track a variety of invasive species.
As a result of those efforts, the 4-H’ers learned that this was the first confirmed report of invasive mystery snails in Olmsted County.
Diving in and learning
Last winter, club leaders Kylie and Aurora formed a committee to learn more about the snails– and how to manage them. They then applied for the 4-H Helping Hands Grant and were awarded $550. Scheels also donated $50 to support their efforts.
“While researching for the grant, I learned how big of a threat the snails really are. They give parasites to people and animals, take food from native snails, they can clog water pipes and can reproduce very fast at any time of the year. That's why we need to do something now before it escalates,” says club leader Aurora.
The club did its first removal this past June, while also picking up trash at the city-owned pond.
“4-H youth– donning waders and clam rakes– removed hundreds of mystery snails from the pond, and confirmed there are both adults and immature mystery snails in all three connected ponds,” says Angela Gupta, Center for Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources Extension educator.
Showcasing their knowledge
To showcase their knowledge and the work that they have done so far, Kylie and Aurora submitted a community pride project– a binder detailing all of their efforts– to be judged at the Minnesota State Fair. Their hard work earned them both blue and purple ribbons.
Despite their award-winning project, Kylie and Aurora are not done. The Creative Clovers 4-H Club plans to continue its efforts by surveying additional nearby water sources to determine the spread of the mystery snail infestation.