Kids Fight Invasive Species!

Hartland School of Community Learning Hartland Saunters Marsh Clean up 2016

This is what happiness looks like: sunshine, fresh air, muscles put to good use, and the satisfaction of a job well done!
Photo credit: P. Witkowski

The boundless energy of kids.

We all wish we had a bit more of it ourselves.

Perhaps you’ve even wished you could harness it.

What if you could focus all that energy and unleash it like a super power, in service of a better, brighter world?

Well, the visionaries of Village of Hartland and the Hartland School of Community Learning did just that through a collaborative service event on Friday, May 6th to clean up a section of the Hartland Marsh.

The Village of Hartland is thoroughly embracing its designation as a Trail Community of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.  Its commitment to the Trail is evidenced in this worthwhile stewardship project.  What better way to foster a healthy, vibrant community than by involving the next generation in getting outside and investing time and energy to clean up the beautiful marshland right outside their front door?

The Hartland Saunters and the Hartland School of Community Learning

Before: This is what an overgrown section of the Hartland Marsh looked like before the kids got involved.
Photo credit: P. Witowski

Two classroom teachers stepped forward, eager to get their kids engaged with a worthy civic project.  A group of 5th graders kicked off the project in the morning and a group of 3rd and 4th graders led the charge in the afternoon.  Plenty of adults, committed to the Ice Age Trail from the Waukesha/Milwaukee County Chapter, were on hand to supervise the kids and teach them about the value of managing natural areas.

Hartland Saunters and the Village of Hartland and the Waukesha/Milwaukee County Chapter

After: This is what the Ice Age National Scenic Trail looks like when kids with loppers and small hand saws take action.
Photo credit. P. Witowski

The kids practiced teamwork as they were divided into work groups responsible for cutting and pulling invasive plants like Buckthorn and Honeysuckle, while partners dragged the brush to the edge of the work site for removal by the Village at a later time.

The Waukesha/Milwaukee Chapter of the Ice Age Nationa Scenic Trail work day with Hartland youth

The sizable brush piles created as the invasive Buckthorn and Honeysuckle were removed.
Photo credit: P. Witowski

The satisfaction of setting specific goals, and working as a team to accomplish them, was reinforced as the kids faced a sizeable project.  By the end of the day they  had cleared out the less desirable bushes to reveal the glory of a grand oak tree.

Hartland School of Community Learning learn about stewardship in the Hartland Marsh

This is what happiness looks like: High Fives to all the kids who used their Super Powers to fight invasive species.
Photo credit: P.Witowski

It was an awesome day filled with sunshine, fresh spring air, and boundless energy as the next generation got busy learning how to help manage the Ice Age National Scenic Trail as it meanders through the Hartland Marsh.