Last Saturday, Brian and I had a lot of fun working with local high school students from Louisa and Albemarle County as they prepared to compete in the Virginia Envirothon, a natural resources competition.

This year’s special topic, invasive species, hit home for us. Aware of the serious threat invasive species pose to natural ecosystem functioning, we were glad of the opportunity share our experiences from working in the field.

The students will be judged on an oral presentation in which they present on a real-life invasive species management scenario for a 248-acre farm in Rockingham County, Virginia. To help them prepare, Brian and I discussed “Native vs. Non-Native Plants” and the “ABCs of an Invasive Species Management Plan”. Special attention was paid to the importance of goal setting, data collection, adaptive management, prevention, native planting, and monitoring.

It was a pleasure to meet these students. Their dedication and spirit was contagious.  Moreover, their knowledge and true concern for the future of ecosystems was easily observable. I very much look forward to watching these change makers as they advance in the competition, and in their careers.

Post By: Annemarie Abbondanzo, Staff Scientist
Photo Credit: Lauriston DaMitz, Education & Outreach, Thomas Jefferson Soil & Water Conservation District