Middle and high school students who are members of the School Forest Committee, students from the middle school's Young Naturalist Club, a Community Action club and adult volunteers removed invasive buckthorn from the middle school forest Saturday, Nov. 1.
The workday was the first of many efforts needed to eradicate buckthorn and other invasive species such as thistle and birdsfoot trefoil. This outing concentrated on eliminating the female buckthorn trees in accessible areas of the site, along the trail. Seeds in the berries produced by female plants can be easily spread by bird droppings.
After the cutting, the stumps were quickly coated with an herbicide before the stumps sealed themselves with an impervious coating. Untreated, cut buckthorn sends out shoots that grow into even stronger, bushier plants.
Students and an adult supervisor followed behind the teams and dragged the branches to a designated area for easy chipping.
In a training session held previously, Troy Meacham, owner/operator of LandCraft Seed and Services in Emerald, explained plant processes and chemicals, along with the best methods to apply herbicides. In addition, he demonstrated safety precautions when using the chemicals.
The middle school Forest Committee is also planning to create a prairie on a two-acre area east of the school track. It would be the entrance to the school forest and provide an additional biome for students to study. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is providing a $500 start-up grant for this project.
The middle school forest is just southeast of the Hudson Middle School with about 10 acres made up of woods, a pond and native plants. The land is owned by the city of Hudson and is a water-retention area. The committee was formed to help make the forest user-friendly for both students and the community.
"It's just waiting to be discovered, explored and tended -- a perfect place for a school forest," said seventh-grade science teacher Cindy Landers.
The School Forest Committee meets monthly. The next meeting is Wednesday, Nov. 19, 7-8:30 p.m., Room 143, at the middle school, 1300 Carmichael Road (enter the south side of the building, by the office.)
For more information, contact Landers at (715) 377-3820 or landercl@hudson. k12.wi.us.