LAKE FOREST – Students at the Montessori School of Lake Forest are well versed in all aspects of cultivating a school garden, caring for their vast outdoor classroom, and appreciating the natural beauty of their outdoor environment, prairie, woodland, wetland and savanna. In October, 2017 they embarked on another educational adventure to learn about managing invasive species and saying “Bye, Bye to Buckthorn. “
On May 9, Dr. Ann Maine, President, Lake County Forest Preserve District (LCFP) joined MSLF students for the culmination of this year long initiative. Dr. Maine talked about the importance of the work the students are doing. She said, “If every neighbor of LCFP worked this hard in the effort to manage the buckthorn, we would be in good shape!” Back in October, students and teachers learned about the larger LCFP initiative and about buckthorn within their space. The impact of the balance between an invasive species and the surrounding environment was discussed, and the need for the community to unite to manage and eradicate invasive species in order to support new growth of native species. Since then, MSLF students, parents and staff have been hard at work removing buckthorn from the school’s 5 ½ acre outdoor classroom.
Luke Buckhardt and Peter Gordon from Lake Forest Open Lands joined the students outside. At four different workstations, children from 5-15 years, pulled and lopped buckthorn of all sizes. German Exchange students from MSLF’s Adolescent Program were among the many students pitching in on the work. Julia Lunn, an Outdoor Education Director at MSLF, noted the arrival of the Spring Ephemerals Trillium, May Apple and Virginia Waterleaf to students, showing that the work they had already done in the fall to clear buckthorn is already encouraging the growth of these special natives. “The work is ongoing. We will continue in our Outdoor Education work to manage the buckthorn”, she said.
Here are some photos from the event:
Submitted by Montessori School of Lake Forest
About MSLF: As one of the premier Montessori schools in the nation and with a long-standing history of 50 years in the Lake Forest community, the Montessori School of Lake Forest (MSLF) offers exceptional learning programs for children ages birth to 15 years. Program options range from half-day to full-day and year-round academic offerings. The school is home to a diverse student body, encompassing eight countries and more than 30 communities in the Chicagoland area. MSLF’s approach emphasizes the development of the whole child and encourages academic and character development equally. Curricula at each developmental level are broad and deep. Our standards exceed the Illinois State Board of Education’s requirements, and students thrive at every level. MSLF alumni go on to succeed at renowned high schools, universities, post-graduate institutions and workplaces.