Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Student Group Service Project; Removes Invasive Species From Community Forest

On Saturday, May 29th, 20 students from Ohio University dedicated their morning to removing invasive species and learning about native flora and fauna at the Trimble Township Community Forest. OU junior Devin Wheeler organized this service project that attracted students from programs like the Appalachian Scholars, Urban Scholars, and other students interested in getting dirty on a late spring morning.

This group of students and Mark Skillings, a faculty member who oversees the Appalachian Scholars program, helped cut, pull, and chop gobs of multi-flora rose, privet, and autumn olive from forest edges and interior. These species are invasive shrubs that were originally introduced as ornamental landscape plants, or for restoration purposes and to curb erosion in southeast Ohio during the early 20th century. Removing these species from the forest understory will help native herbs, shrubs, and trees continue to thrive in this 1200 acre chunk of forest.

In addition to working to remove invasives, the group of students encountered various native flora and fauna. Led by Rural Action’s Tanner Filyaw and Joe Brehm, students got a taste of local ecology. Literally. They learned that multi-flora rose petals can be eaten and are high in vitamin C. They also learned to identify a variety of plants, bird calls, and butterflies. This group of students immersed themselves in the ecology of Appalachian Ohio while completing a valuable and much appreciated service project. Good luck to all of these bright students in future endeavors, and Rural Action hopes to enjoy their continued involvement.

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