Students muscle out invasive species

Owen Kalp, Bryce Bear and Carson Dietrich help pile up white mulberry trees being removed from the banks of McGregor Creek. The aggressive tree is an invasive species that competes with the native red mulberry tree. The Ursuline College Chatham students were part of a larger group from the school helping to revitalize the McGregor’s Creek watershed.

By Pam Wright
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Last week’s sticky summer weather was no match for a group of eco-warriors from Ursuline College Chatham.

A group of Grade 11 and 12 biology and environmental science students headed out to Maple Leaf Cemetery to lend some 90 pairs of hands to the Imagine McGregor project.

“It’s satisfying,” said student Bryce Bear as he hacked away at some white mulberry trees growing profusely along the creek at the edge of the cemetery.

“Cutting these down is good therapy,” Bear added.

Along with working to eradicate invasive species, activities led by the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority (LTVCA) included cleaning up garbage from the waterway and tree and plant identification.

LTVCA wetland and urban stewardship technician Alyssa Broeders said the volunteer help is much appreciated to further the goals of the Imagine McGregor project.

Broeders said it’s hard to quantify, but she estimated students worked to help clear invasive species from between a half acre to an acre of land.

Getting rid of the invasive white mulberry is part of the job, Broeders said, adding the trees aren’t cut down.

Instead they’re “girdled,” she said, by removing a ring of bark thereby damaging the plant’s water transport system.

Students, led by teachers Jordan King, Chantal Lucarelli and Adam McCabe also cleaned up refuse from along the creek bed and participated in a tree and plant identification competition.

UCC students have been busy pitching in on other projects. Recently, environmental science students led by King planted 73 American sycamore trees on Queen’s Line near Drake Road.




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