Pictured: Students from Mr. Martonen’s Environmental Class, volunteers, and WRISC workers pose by the class’s “Adopt-A-Spot” sign after a hard day of invasive species management.
On Friday, October 15th, the Kingsford High School Environmental Class, along with several adult volunteers, joined forces with Wild Rivers Invasive Species Coalition (WRISC) to manage invasive Buckthorn, Honeysuckle, and Japanese Barberry at Cowboy Lake Park. Cowboy Lake Park was adopted by the KHS Environmental Class through the “Adopt-A-Spot” program, which tasks citizens or groups to “adopt” a favorite location and monitor it for invasive species. For the last several years, WRISC has partnered with the class to help manage and identify invasive species at the park.
During the workday, students learned how to identify different woody invasives and worked with WRISC to conduct a cut-stump treatment on any plants present. Cut-stump treatments can be done year-round. They involve cutting the stump of a woody invasive as close to the ground as possible and then coating the stump with herbicide. The KHS Environmental Class had the hard task of cutting all the stumps, while WRISC followed up with herbicide. Thanks to the hard work of students and volunteers year after year, there has been a major improvement in the number of invasive species present.
But why are invasive species so bad? Well, woody invasives like Buckthorn, Honeysuckle, and Japanese Barberry will take over a forest’s understory, displacing native vegetation, and decreasing the overall biodiversity of an area. They also hinder recreation by congesting walking trails and injuring hikers with pokey thorns.
To keep our natural areas free of invasive species, always remember to #PlayCleanGo. This means using a boot brush or boot brush station to clean your shoes before and after you leave an area. Also, remember to check for seeds and burs attached to your clothing and your pet's fur!