School Forest news
Highlights About Our School Forests
High School Students at Mankato East learned the importance of conservation and restoration projects by learning hands-on in their School Forest. Led by the School Forest coordinator and science teacher, Julia Battern 120 students took part throughout the day, each spending about 2 hours removing buckthorn, a terrestrial invasive species. Randy Schindle, a DNR Private Lands Specialist taught students how to properly remove and treat buckthorn and gave a presentation on famous conservationists. The district's grounds managers supplied equipment and helped remove large branches and trunks from the forest. The project was completed after planting native woodland plants to help reestablish the forest and create a wildlife friendly habitat.
About 100 students from Lake Middle and East Ridge High schools converged on a massive infestation of buckthorn in the 80-acre Bailey School Forest in Newport. First, DNR staff visited the after-school science club to teach about buckthorn natural history, proper pulling techniques, and safety. Then students and parents arrived on a Saturday morning to pull, cut and remove several truckloads of the invasive tree. Participating students earned extra credit points for their service efforts. To make the day successful, the City of Newport provided several adult volunteers to lead smaller groups of parents and students into pre-determined work areas and ensure that the plant was being removed correctly. Adult volunteers applied the herbicide on cut stumps. This is the district's 3rd annual buckthorn pull
Earlier this year seventh graders from Bemidji Middle School assessed the health of their School Forest by conducting an earthworm investigation. After learning about earthworms and the effect that these non-native, invasive species have on MN Mark Studer, a science teacher, sent students out to the forest with their tools. After setting up study plots, students poured in a liquid mustard solution and waited for worms to surface. Out of 30 total plots, only 28 worms were counted. While it was disappointing for students not to see worms wiggle to the surface, they knew that minimal worms meant a healthier forest ecosystem.? ?
Garlough Environmental Magnet School designated 28 acres of land as the Garlough School Forest. It consists of school-owned land and part of Garlough Park which is owned by the city of West St. Paul. The wooded property already contains established fort-building areas, bird watching stations, a tree house, tightrope system, and seating for instructional moments. The wooded areas owned by the city contain additional paved and dirt trails. The school will work with the city and the School Forest Program to get the best educational use out of their new School Forest.