KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — A group of Kalamazoo College students spent their summer researching invasive plant species.
They conducted extensive research projects at the Lillian Anderson Arboretum and the Kleinstuck Preserve.
Invasive plants can kill species native to Michigan and have a negative impact on the entire ecosystem.
According to Fiona Summers, a student working on the research, people can make an impact by not using invasive plants for landscaping and by cleaning their shoes.
“People can easily carry seeds,” Summers said. ”If you’re going hiking in Europe, you come home and you have seeds just stuck in your boots, you can disperse them.”
While many students spend their summers working to make some extra cash, these students hope their project will bring attention to the danger invasive plants pose to our environment.
“The average person when they look out at a preserve sees green,” student Matthew Holmes-Hackerd said. “With a little more information you can start to look at well this ecosystem actually isn’t as healthy as the greenness of it would have you think.”
The students use advanced GPS technology to map the amount and type of invasive plant species in the forests.
Student Kelson Perez says working on the project has been a very rewarding experience.
“Science is made to try to understand,” Perez said. “All scientists can do is try to explain what we have and maybe some steps we can take to fix it.”
The students hope their research will inspire others to learn more about invasive plants.