Students in the Avon Grove Charter School’s (West Grove, Pennsylvania) high school Green Initiative club made removal of invasive plants and planting of beneficial natives in an artificial wetland meadow a focus of their work for the 2015-16 school year.
Hannah Kirk, an 11th grade student, wanted to increase the number of milkweed plants on campus to support greater numbers of monarch butterflies as well as other beneficial insects.
Our property’s greatest existing concentration of milkweed plants exists in a storm water retention basin we have allowed to revert to a wet meadow, but has been severely impacted by invasive species. Foxtail grass, mugwort multi-flora rose, oriental bittersweet, and porcelain berry have severely impacted that ecosystem.
Hannah, along with other 11th grade students Andrew Bedsole, Sully Stuehrmann, and Maddie Wyatt, began work in the fall in gathering milkweed seed pods, clearing invasive plants from the basin, and sowing he milkweed seeds into the areas freed from invasive plants. The students plan on removing the invasive plants as they grow back to allow the milkweed to become more established in the basin.
The eventual goal of this remediation project it to keep the basin area as a flourishing wetland meadow of native plants that support a variety of species, especially pollinators, while stemming the long term degradation caused by invasive plants.
This article was written for REVITALIZATION by Michael J. Mostello, Upper School Program Facilitator and 9-12 Green Learning Initiative Coordinator at the Avon Grove Charter School.