In January 2021, The Vetiver Network International (TVNI, www.vetiver.org) set up a Vetiver System community project on the iNaturalist website, a social network to help map and share observations of species around the world. Although its core focus is on wild species in their natural habitats, iNaturalist offers the ability to share “captive” or “cultivated” plants and animals that were placed at a certain location by humans. This is where most of our vetiver applications fits in. The purpose of our vetiver project was to:
- Track projects using Vetiver Grass Technology (VGT).
- Raise awareness about the many benefits and characteristics of the plant.
- Help potential VGT users and those who fund vetiver projects to get a better understanding of the distribution and success of vetiver grass applications.
- Provide a basis for scientific study at all levels of education, from grade school to universities, to further our collective understanding and appreciation of vetiver’s potential in healing the Earth.
The project can be viewed at www.inaturalist.org/projects/the-vetiver-system. To encourage our vetiver community to add their plantings to iNaturalist, we announced a competition in March 2021 for the most quality VGT sites added by March 31, 2022, with First Prize $500 USD, Second Prize $300, and Third Prize $200. The competition had a few rules, including cultivated-permanent sites of mature vetiver, at least two photographs of each plot, geo-referenced locations, and a description about the purpose of the application (i.e. erosion control, slope stabilization, disaster mitigation, wastewater disposal, phytoremediation, forage, mulching, landscaping, essential oil, nursery).
Since the Vetiver Project page was created, approximately 400 vetiver plots have been added to iNaturalist! Although some of the sites did not meet the competition rules, TVNI reviewed each entry and determined the following winners:
- First Place: VetiverTT in the Caribbean
- Second Place: Ngo Tho in Vietnam
- Third Place: Vetiver Ingeniería Viva in Guatemala
We also want to give special recognition to those who posted at least 10 vetiver sites:
- Russel Jardiolin of the Philippines
- Lata Hailu of Ethiopia
- Evan Millwood of Erosion QLD in Australia
Thank you very much to everyone who added their vetiver to iNaturalist, even if you only posted one or two plots. We ask all of you who are actively engaged with VGT to continue adding your planting locations and other observations to iNaturalist. They all help to build up a picture of how and where vetiver is being planted globally. This will help to encourage others to use the plant, and international and national agencies to understand the potential of vetiver. To learn how to add your vetiver to iNaturalist, read this helpful guide: https://vetiver.org/TVN_iNaturalist%20Project.pdf and feel free to ask us any questions.