Golden Apple: Pillager High School Students Plant Native Shrubs and Plants
Pillager High School teamed up with Camp Ripley and Great River Greening to give aquatic biology students a day of hands-on learning outside of the classroom. Students participated in digging, planting, and mulch spreading to help improve their environment.
Great River Greening is the newest member of the Camp Ripley Sentinel Landscape. Their purpose is to keep forests a forest and teach students how to keep the water clean through smart conservation.
“We’re going to be planting several different mass-producing shrubs, about 200 of them, throughout what’s an abandoned gravel pit here on our ruffed grouse management area,” said Jake Kitzmann, Camp Ripley natural resource manager. “The goal again is to just improve habitat, and we’re working with students from the Pillager High School.”
Students planted specific shrubs that are tough and can handle that environment. Once the planting is done, the easy part is over, but wildlife like deer and rabbits can be a challenge.
If local wildlife is contained, in three to five years this plot of land will no longer be an open space but a flourishing one with native plants. After this process has been fulfilled, Great River Greening does pollinator monitoring of the area.
“[We] count bumblebee species, count native bee species,” explained Jessica Drummond, Great River Greening naturalist and outreach coordinator, “and if an area has a lot of pollinators in it, then that’s an indicator that the planting was successful.”
Students learn in many ways, but for some, a hands-on process like this is the most effective in gaining knowledge, especially in helping the local environment.
There were more than 100 students in attendance at Tuesday’s event. The funding came from the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR).