Plant Wars: Native vs. Invasive Species


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Jack Layton Award | Honourable Mention


Our vision is to have students understand the importance of biodiversity and the danger that invasive plant species pose to our local environment. We want to learn about invasive and native plants and educate others from our community about the importance of protecting native species and stopping the spread of invasive species.


Hi, we are Ms. Jones’ students and we are in Grades 6, 7 and 8. We are at Tecumseh Public School in Burlington, Ontario. This year we conducted an inquiry project called “Plant Wars” where we planted invasive species and native species in the same pot to see what happened.
To do this project, we made posters to get other classes interested. Some of the ideas to name our project were “Plant Wars”, “Garden Warfare”, “World War P”, and “Native Vs. Invasive”. We chose “Plant Wars” and got to work on learning more about plants from our area.
We contacted a local expert who we met at an Eco-Schools event, and asked him to bring us some invasive and native plants. We planted them all in the same pot and took care of them all winter. We put them in the sun and watered them every Monday.
Around March and April, we noticed that the garlic mustard was taking over the other plants. We think that this is because the garlic mustard is greedy and takes the sun with it’s big leaves. The leaves block the other plants from getting the sun. There were also a lot of little baby sprouts growing and making the garlic mustard huge. We also learned that the roots of garlic mustard can produce a toxin that will hurt other native plants.
From this Inquiry, we learned that garlic mustard can be scary because it could kill the other plants. If it kills important plants like apple trees or flowers it will ruin the circle of life and put a hole in it that can’t be fixed. We need to get rid of garlic mustard so that there isn’t a domino effect that harms plants, humans and bugs, and animals in our ecosystems.
In conclusion, to protect biodiversity, we need to get rid of invasive plants and protect the native plants.

(Written collaboratively by Ms. Jones’ Grade 6/7/8 Class)


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