The Cook County Invasives Team has visited classrooms in communities in Cook County to educate students about invasive species.
In the past, 7th and 8th grade students at Great Expectations School in Grand Marais, MN, spent their science period removing spotted knapweed (Centaurea stoebe), Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense), and common tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) from their school grounds, and from around the Sheriff’s station. Students learned how to identify and remove common invasive plants in their community, and pulled and bagged over five 37 gallon bags of plants.
The Cook County Invasives Team has also worked with students in science classes doing a hands-on invasive shrub removal to help restore the grounds of the Cook County High School. One class removed brush, re-grown Siberian Pea Shrub following a previous removal, pulled Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense), and righted tree cages placed around planted pine saplings. The other class cut down and removed a separate stand. That stand will be replaced with white pines in the spring.
In 2015, two 10th grade biology classes helped to remove spotted knapweed from the County Highways Department grounds and county road right-of-way.
This summer, CCIT coordinator, Laurel Wilson will lead a series of hikes focused on both native and non-native plant identification. Hikes are open to anyone, families and pets included.
Mon., June 22nd Temperance River – meet at parking area on Hwy. 61
Mon., July 20th Cascade River SP Shoreline – meet at parking area on Hwy. 61
Mon., Aug 17th Sweetheart’s Bluff – meet at trail entrance, Grand Marais Campground
All hikes are from 5 pm – 6 pm
The Cook County Invasive Team partnered with the Minnesota Sea Grant, Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Minnesota DNR, and the National Park Service to provide a public outreach booth at Fisherman’s Picnic and The Cook County Fair in Grand Marais, MN.
The Cook County Invasive Team partnered with the Minnesota Sea Grant, Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Minnesota DNR, and the National Park Service to provide a public outreach booth at Fisherman’s Picnic and The Cook County Fair in Grand Marais, MN. The Fisherman’s Picnic booth was a great success with 944 people visiting the booth to learn about invasive species and we anticipate further success at the Cook County Fair. The booth features specimens of terrestrial and aquatic invasive species to view, education materials, and encouraged dialog between visitors and the invasive species scientists, managers, and conservation officers staffing the booth.
Boot Brush Stations
Cook County Invasive Team installed boot brush signs at seven trailheads in Cook County. Invasive plant seeds can be spread into natural areas by ‘hitchhiking’ on shoes as visitors travel from infested to uninfested areas.
To increase awareness of this introduction vector the Cook County Invasive Team has put together signs asking people to please ‘Clean Your Boots BeforeEntering’. Signs were installed at Chik-Wauk Nature Center, Sugarloaf Nature Center, Eagle Mountain, Caribou Rock, Oberg Mountain,Magnetic Rock, and Pincushion Mountain trailheads. These signs provide general information about invasive species, threats posed by four specific species, and inform visitors of simple steps they can do to reduce the threat. These signs are organized with a hierarchy of information designed to target visitors willing to read the sign for 3 seconds, 30 seconds, or 3 minutes. Initial reaction has been very positive and they are already receiving heavy use. Next time you are out hiking don’t forget to ‘Clean Your Boots’ and let me know what you think of the signs.
Cover photo by M. Lynch