One of my favorite proverbs states, “Give a person a fish and they will eat for a day. Teach them to fish, and they’ll eat for a life time.” I say teach them to conserve natural resources and they’ll be conservationists for their lifetime. In October I had the experience of teaching cub scouts and their parents about the problems caused by invasive plant species. The Cub scouts ranged in age from 6 to 10. We did a project at Seven Lakes State Park to remove Autumn Olive, Oriental Bittersweet and Multiflora Rose from a prairie that the Park is attempting to maintain in its native condition.
I started the day by giving them a quick discussion of how aggressive invasive plant species are. I talked about how quickly the plants spread and choke out native plants. We did quick tour to teach the cubs and parents how to identify the plants. I told them to cut the shrubs as low to the ground as possible and that the park employees would follow up the cut with a herbicide treatment on the the stems.
The cub scouts and parents learned a lot about taking care of the environment, and ridding the land of invasive plants. I thought it was really cool to see the kids learn about how to protect natural resources and the environment. I loved that they enjoyed doing the work. The best reward is knowing that the kids I had contact with are learning to be land stewards and how to conserve the environment. These are lessons that the kids and parents will remember the rest of their lives.
Jon Claude Howd – YCC member