Environmental science students ventured out of the classroom to take part in a unique activity that will help preserve an open woodland in the area.
“It is a little gem in Highland Park that is overgrown with a non-native plant called
buckthorn,” Christine Hill, Highland Park High School teacher, said about the natural environmental area located next to Red Oak Elementary School.
For the past several years, John Nickel, a 5th grade teacher at Red Oak, has been working to preserve the woodland area.
According to HPHS senior Dillon Novak, buckthorn is an invasive species that will kill all the other plants out there, which is why students spent a large majority of last week removing it.
“I really love to learn about the environment,” Novak commented about why he’s taking the course and mentioned he enjoyed the activity because it was very hands on. “I think it’s important because that’s what science mostly is.”
Once the buckthorn is removed, species like salamanders, frogs and turtles will be able to go through their normal life cycles.
“The students learn about a lot of negative things people do to the environment,” Hill said about subjects covered during the environmental science class. “This is a chance for kids to improve their world.”
HPHS students also worked alongside Red Oak students observing the diversity of the wooded area and gathering baseline data, which the high schoolers will later use to complete a lab report.