Story by Michael Beiermeister
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Alpena — Fifth grade students from Besser Elementary had a busy afternoon learning about the environment and taking action.
The students threw on waders and helped pull the invasive species European frogbit from the Alpena Wildlife Sanctuary at Duck Park Island. Teachers participate in the ‘B-Wet’ program which helps bring kids out of the classroom and into the field to get hands-on learning. The youngsters also collected trash around the island and documented their findings.
At the final station, the children used magnifying glasses and gloves to take a look at some of the macroinvertebrates that inhabit the river. Students learned about the sensitive and nonsensitive macroinvertebrates to gauge the water quality of the sanctuary ecosystem. Some of the little specimens are close to being endangered while others are thriving.
“They do have a lot more energy,” said Huron Pines, AmeriCorp Restoration Technician Benjamin Bravo. “They get excited about pulling the frogbit about, they get excited about the snails and all the other lily pads, so seeing the students excitement, it’s kind of infectious… it’s really nice.”
Members from Huron Pines, Huron Pines-AmeriCorp, and the Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative collaborate to help bring this event to life. Expect to see more elementary school students in the field and working to make the environment a better place throughout the rest of the school year.