On Thursday, May 31, 2012, Dr. Michael Werner, of Upper Merion Area High School, brought both of his AP Biology Classes to McKaig for a day of service. Thirty students from the Class of 2012 used pruners and bow saws to attack the alien invasive Winged Euonymous shrubs along the Cadet and Nancy Lang Trails "We want to contribute to our community, as well as have a fun and educational field experience," said Dr. Werner.
After learning some tool techniques and safety, the young men and women spread out along the trail in teams to cut down, chop up, and bundle brush. "This is fun," said one student, "except for all the spider webs.... aieyyyy... there's a big green spider!"
In keeping with the "reduce, re-use and recycle" philosophy, the cut brush was used to further block the wildcat (unauthorized) trails leading from the Cadet Trail. Fascines (three-foot long bundles of brush) were tied up and staged for use in controlling erosion.
The students also received a lesson on the importance of combating alien invasive plants at the McKaig Nature Education Center from Executive Director Russ Johnson. "The Euonymous is still sold to unsuspecting home owners as the decorative 'burning bush,'" says Johnson. "But here in the wildlife sanctuary, it spreads rapidly and out-competes the native species."
The High School Biology classes have been helping McKaig for years and Dr. Werner is already looking forward to bringing students from the Class of 2013 next September.
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