Physical and Biological Sciences Category
I am Jeremiah Cline and am currently a senior at MSSU in the Biology Department. I am currently working on the MSSU Biology Pond and Marsh Restoration Project on campus. I am using skills that I have received from working with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, (DNR) as well as the Watershed Conservation Corps (WCC) to make a difference on my campus by restoring habitat, and creating an outdoor learning area.
The biology trail and marsh project is an attempt to not only improve campus aesthetics but serve as a form of community outreach, and an alternative form of learning. I started the project in the Fall of 2020, starting with minimal equipment and unaware of the amount of success to come.
Starting as an outdoor classroom or lab in the early 1970s, the marsh offered students a unique opportunity to observe living organisms outside the classroom. However, prior to the fall of 2020 the wooded area on the south portion of the marsh was so overgrown with invasive, and noxious plants that walkers were unable to use the path. The area seemed like it was forgotten, lost under years of overgrowth.
Since the fall semester, I established a regular group of volunteers from the student body, as well as teaching management techniques to those interested in habitat restoration. With the support of my volunteers, many of the trees have been thinned, and other species have been added to increase diversity. Other plants have been added also to attract a variety of pollinators and birds. Picnic tables have been added to offer a quiet study area for students to enjoy also. The canopy has been improved by removing vining plants. Many of the invasive plants have been controlled and I am starting to establish a monitoring system to determine success.