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Stewardship Highlights Spring 2018

CEES Adds Citizen Science and a New Site to the Service Learning Roster

 

Over the course of the semester, 242 IUPUI students participated in 10 service learning events.  Jaguars converged on various parks, including Broad Ripple, Grassy Creek, Sodalis, and Juan Solomon, to remove bushels of Bush Honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) - our (least) favorite invasive species. 

A student poses next to a massive Honeysuckle shrub at Grassy Creek Park.

 

 In addition to Honeysuckle, Juan Solomon Park (left) is infested with another invasive species - Winter Creeper (groundcover).  Because it leafs out earlier than most other plants, Bush Honeysuckle is easy to identify in early spring - as students learned at Broad Ripple Park (right).

 

  To kill Honeysuckle (without herbicides) it must be pulled out by the roots. Students are always eager to go after the big "trophy" shrubs.

 

Grassy Creek Regional Park was a new addition for the program. The 175 acre park, located on the northeast side, is a hidden gem, offering viewing access to one of the largest open wetlands in Marion County. 

The wetlands at Grassy Creek.

 

The Lilly ARBOR was the site of a massive trash removal effort. Winter flooding left not only natural detritus, but also swathes of plastic, styrofoam, and other waste in its wake. 

 Students scour the flood debris at the ARBOR for cans, bottles, plastic, styrofoam, and other trash.

 

2018 also saw the addition of Citizen Science projects to the Service Learning program. In February, students gathered at the Nature Center at Holliday Park to count birds as part of the annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC). The GBBC, sponsored by the Cornell lab of Ornithology, the National Audubon Society, and Bird Studies Canada, is a world-wide effort that has been providing a snapshot of bird numbers and distributions in mid-February for over 15 years. The data collected during the service learning events contributed to this long-term data set. Enthusiastic student response ensures that this activity will remain part of the Service Learning roster.

Bird watching at Holliday Park. The park's Nature Center has an excellent wildlife viewing area.

 

 

 

 

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