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Our vision for Canada is… protected natural habitat and ecosystems. Our project was sparked by a desire to protect a badger that had taken up residence on our school grounds. By connecting with local ecologists, we recognized that this area of the school yard was completely invested with an invasive plant called knapweed. Our vision is to clean up this area and restore it to a natural grassland habitat.
Our class consulted with ecologists from the Rocky Mountain Trench Ecological Restoration Society and with the East Kootenay Invasive Plant Species Council. Together we came up with an action plan to eliminate the knapweed. We mapped out the location and density of the knapweed in the area and coordinated weed pulling sessions with the entire French Immersion student group (around 65 students in total). Our actions generated more and more interest from the student body about badgers, habitat restoration and the problems of invasive plants. Our class made a leadership decision to not use herbicides to remove the knapweed, although this was the suggestion from the ecologists. Instead we looked for alternatives. This lead us to hire a local specialist in habitat restoration, Vahana Natural (goat herder Cailey Chase). We used our EcoLeague Action Project funding from LSF to have 43 goats come to our school to munch on knapweed. The goats were a hit with all of the students at the school. The awareness of issues of invasive plants became widespread. Our project was a great success!