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Armstrong students tackle foreign weeds after learning about invasive species

The students cleared a large area filled with invasive burdock Thursday

Armstrong students got their hands dirty ridding an area of invasive weeds, while learning about the ecological importance of doing so. 

On Thursday, one day after trees were planted at the IPE grounds by the Armstrong Spallumcheen Trails Society, an educational invasive plant and weed-pull day was organized with local schools by the Armstrong Wetlands Association and the Invasive Species Council of B.C. The Trails Society also took part in the event, and shared the experience in a Facebook post. 

About 20 grade three students from Armstrong Elementary School arrived at Huculak Park along Meighan Creek for a morning lesson from Kim Fulton (aka Dr. Fish) and Lara Phillips of the Invasive Species Council. After an introduction to invasive species, they played a game called 'From Here or From Away.' Flashcards were produced showing pictures of various plants and animals and the students were tasked with figuring out if they were native to B.C. or from elsewhere. 

"There are many problems that arise for native species when species from somewhere else arrive in BC. Everything in this world has a home," the Trails Society wrote. 

Later in the morning, another 20 students, a Grade 11 class from Pleasant Valley Secondary, arrived and buddied up with the younger students, the pairs equipped with gloves, a shovel and a large garbage bag. They were directed to remove a large patch of invasive burdock along the creek, and with 40 students working it didn't take long to clear the patch. 

Then came another lesson: with so much disturbed ground, and not wanting more invasive plants to take hold, each student was given chokecherry seeds, a native plant, to put in the ground. 

"We didn't realize that each seed has a very hard outer coating so to help it along in the germination process everyone had to hold their seed in an alligator clip and lightly sand the outer coating with an emery board, place it in the soil (not too deep) and water it. Quite the process!" the Trails Society wrote.

A recess and homemade cookies were enjoyed, and then the students returned to the classroom. They were soon replaced by another class and the lesson repeated, with the students this time focusing their weeding skills on the noxious yellow flag iris. 

The Trails Society congratulated the students, teachers and volunteers on a successful event. 

On Wednesday, six members of the Trails Society planted 14 autumn blaze maple trees on the IPE property off Wood Avenue, digging wells around the trees and staking them. 

"There will be another work party in the future to finish the staking and then wood chips or bark mulch will be spread around each tree. These trees will turn red in the fall so will look spectacular," the society said. 


Brendan Shykora

About the Author: Brendan Shykora

I started at the Morning Star as a carrier at the age of 8. In 2019 graduated from the Master of Journalism program at Carleton University.
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