(Photo courtesy/Brandon Schroeder) Tawas Middle School students help to manage invasive Phragmites in their community – learning and having some fun along the way.
Tawas Middle School students help to manage invasive Phragmites by measuring the density of Phragmites in a targeted area in their community.
A stand of invasive Phragmites plants towered over the heads of Tawas Area Middle School students as they stood in the thick of it all wearing waders and smiles. These students, through their applied learning, are partners in a community habitat restoration effort aimed at managing this invasive wetland plant in an area located near the local hospital.
The goal is to eventually manage this area as a rain garden by restoring native water-loving plants. Aside from mitigating the impacts of invasive species, the restored rain garden habitat would help to absorb rainwater and reduce runoff from the hospital’s parking lot.
The Iosco County Conservation District, Huron Pines, Huron Pines AmeriCorps, Michigan Sea Grant, Michigan State University Extension, along with several community partners and the Ascension St. Joseph Hospital, have been working together to manage thiStudents collected field data on clipboards to calculate density and survival rates of the Phragmites. Photo: Michigan Sea Grants particular Phragmites stand since 2017. Through the Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative (NEMIGLSI) network, these partners quickly identified an opportunity to connect with Tawas Area Schools and involve students. Working with lead teacher Adrianne Dittenbir and a team of teachers from the school, this school-community partnership blossomed with the idea that this project could serve as a great learning opportunity for students – and a great opportunity for students to apply their learning and contribute to the project in meaningful way.
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