ABOVE PHOTO: Students in the Horticulture Club at Chippewa Valley Technical College walked next door last week, to the UW-Eau Claire campus, to help remove invasive plant species so native plants could continue to grow.
Each year in the fall, Sean VanderWaal and his team of Chippewa Valley Technical College Horticulture Club students, with tree trimmers in hand, cut down and remove the invasive buckthorn plant species from public areas throughout Eau Claire.
This year, buckthorn wasn’t the only target as they traversed the UW-Eau Claire campus last week. Students spied honeysuckle and cut that down as well.
“We had a good crew and removed a substantial amount of both species on campus in an effort to develop a better growing site for native plants,” said VanderWaal, the College’s horticulture instructor.
Buckthorn works to outcompete native vegetation, taking over the forest floor, utilizing necessary nutrients and changing the entire structure of the forest.
VanderWaal said without this invasive species management, the native species will be displaced. Participating in an activity like this is also an opportunity to be recognized as a leader in arboricultural practices through the national Tree Campus USA certification.
“This was part of our community service for our clubs, and it’s a useful learning tool,” he said. “Being able to identify and successfully manage buckthorn is an integral part of landscape management in Wisconsin. The project helped students identify and develop the skills necessary to remove each of the plants regardless of size.”