Senior Takes on Campus Invasive Plants

Pass by the Middle School and you will see a new addition nearby: an outdoor classroom.

The classroom is one of the results of Emma Goodman’s senior project, “Invasive Species at Masters,” which tackled — sometimes literally — the issue of invasive plants on campus.

Goodman identified the space near the Middle School as an area in need of invasive plant removal, so she spent a month and a half this spring removing multiflora rose, barberry and garlic mustard, and replacing them with healthier, local species. “Because they are not from the ecosystem they are living in, invasive species take over because they don’t have any competitors. They will strangle trees, they will suffocate grass, so it really degrades the current ecosystem that’s in place,” Goodman explained. Once the area had been cleared of invasive species, she transformed it into a permanent, outdoor classroom space for the Middle School. "It was a really underused space," she said. 

As part of her project, Goodman also led a walking tour on Friday, May 17, during which she pointed out invasive plant species to the more than 20 attendees. “I give tours for Gold Key, so it felt kind of natural to do a tour,” she explained. “Everybody seemed genuinely interested.” And, because it was Reunion Weekend, alumnae/i were also able to join the tour.

Although Goodman learned a lot about invasive species over the course of her project, when asked about it, she said unequivocally: “We are so lucky to have such a big campus, but none of it would be the way it is without the maintenance and grounds staff. They work so hard. ”

Now, only two weeks away from graduation, Goodman reflected on her senior project, noting that “It was a great opportunity to do something outside the classroom and leave my mark at Masters.”

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