10/22/11. Make A Difference Day – Keweenaw Shores II At Dan’s Point
Fourteen students from Michigan Technological University, members from both the Society of Clinical Laboratory Scientists and Phi Sigma – National Biological Honor Society, volunteered at an MNA sanctuary on “Make a Difference Day.” These hardworking students were instructed to dress for the elements and bring along work gloves; their job was to remove invasive spotted knapweed from a rocky shoreline on the shores of Lake Superior.
Nancy Leonard, the steward of the Keweenaw Shores II Nature Sanctuary enlisted naturalist Karena Schmidt and botanist Janet Marr to provide helpful instruction to the students. The goals for this volunteer day included helping students understand the threat of spotted knapweed and other invasive plants to sensitive environments, enable them to identify spotted knapweed in different stages of growth, and showing them how to correctly remove and dispose of the uprooted plants.
Removing knapweed from the shoreline portion of this nature sanctuary is an ongoing project. Keweenaw Shores II is home of a number of special concern and threatened plants, including pale painted cup (Castilleja septentrionalis) and common butterwort (Pinguicula vulgaris.) Lesser purple fringed orchids (Platanthera psycodes) and birdseye primrose (Primula mistassinica) are also found here.
Equipped with borrowed tools and new knowledge, the students enthusiastically tackled the project at hand. The approach was to work from the eastern boundary of the sanctuary and move over the rocky beach area. Many students set about digging up the offending plant, while others worked to locate the plants and flag them to be dug up.
After three hours of hunting and digging out knapweed on the shoreline of Keweenaw Shores II, the volunteers gathered eight bags of the invasive plant to be double bagged and disposed of at the local landfill. The project was a success and certainly will “make a difference” to the protection of natural heritage at the sanctuary.
MTU students – Society of Clinical Laboratory Scientists and Phi Sigma, the National Biological Honor Society
Brianne, a student who helped organize the work outing with MNA Steward Alice Soldan said, “We all had a great time yesterday! It was such a fun experience, and I’m sure we would love to come back in the future. Thanks for a wonderful Saturday!”