November 09, 2015
Weeding Out Invasive Species to Let Native Species Shine
Last year, it was a couple of students; this year, it was well over a dozen West Virginia Wesleyan students, faculty, and staff working together to pull out two seriously invasive weeds from Buckhannon’s new Nature Park/Learning Trail.
On two different days this fall, a total of 24 huge bags of Japanese stilt grass and six large piles of European privet were removed from the park where they had been choking out native species. The weed pull was a collaborative venture between Wesleyan’s WE LEAD Eco/Sustainability team student leaders Tim Bristol of Gywnn Oak, MD, Elaine Ashman of Newton, WV, and Mark Leadingham of Sharpsburg, MD; WVWC biology faculty Drs. Katharine Gregg and Kim Bjorgo-Thorne; and Buckhannon’s Street Crew under the leadership of Jerry Arnold.
WE LEAD is Wesleyan Engaging Leaders through Education, Awareness and Development, a program in which students plan and implement service events to bring awareness of societal issues to their peers.
Created in 2011 and dedicated in 2014, the Nature Park/Learning Trail has an extension of the Binky Poundstone Memorial River Walk plus two handicapped accessible loop trails that show off a myriad of native trees, shrubs, and wildflowers. In 2012 and 2013, in a cooperative venture between Wesleyan and the city of Buckhannon, some 180 native plants were purchased and planted to enhance those already present. In 2014, signs were installed that give names, descriptions, and beneficial uses of some 35 species found in the park. The signs highlight food, medicinal, and structural uses of plants as well as pointing out plants to avoid like poison ivy, and those that need eradication like the exotic, invasive privet and stiltgrass.
The vision for the park is that it will be a place where school children of all ages, families in the community, and college students can learn about our native plant heritage.
Cutline: Ten Wesleyan students and Dr. Bjorgo-Thorne had their final weed pull for the year at the Nature Park/Learning Trail. They pulled and dug out a huge amount of privet.
Other photos of the weed pull by Wesleyan students.
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