The restoration of a prairie near our school garden began a while ago, and this year it really flourished, with native camas taking hold and dominating the landscape. The students have been battling long and hard against invasive species, like Scotch Broom and Himalayan Blackberries to finally get this area clear and free for our highly coveted purple camas.
This project helped demonstrate the destructive tendencies of invasive plants, and why it is important to carefully select native or easily controlled plants when designing gardens and landscaping.
This project was ripe with issues, including the stubbornness of blackberries! Students tilled and dug deep to remove the invasive pests, with a great deal of resistance and thorns.
The most memorable part of our experience was seeing students be able to dig up and taste the delicious bulbs of the plants, and some of our tribal students demonstrating the process and explaining the importance of camas to their peers.
I would highly suggest that all readers think carefully about what they plant in their gardens, and take the time to perhaps consider using native plants to beautify their landscape with minimal impact on the environment.
Submitted by Dave Ohrt, Horticulture and Science teacher at Nisqually Middle School.