Story by School News Network — Myla Morey and Micah Scholtens are familiar with the wooded area next to Central Middle School. Myla, an eighth-grader, has explored the space during outdoor lessons before, once in a simulated crime-of-nature-scene to learn about the importance of conservation. Micah, who is in seventh grade, has ridden his bike on the trails. Now, both know the area as home to some invasive plant species, as well as the site of an art installation they helped to create.
About 140 students in Lea Sevigny’s natural expressions class and art teacher Caitlyn Tetreault’s draw, paint and print class came together recently for about three weeks to create the outdoor art exhibit with a purpose.
The wooded area east of the building that is often traversed by neighbors and students is being taken over by invasive plants, including garlic mustard, autumn olive and, most drastically, Oriental bittersweet, an aggressive, woody vine that can twine up to 90 feet and choke out even mature trees.
Seventh- and eighth-graders at the school first trimmed the invasive plants to make looms, on which they weaved material from the invasives themselves, fiber scraps and upcycled materials such as fabric and string.
The aim: to raise awareness of invasive species in general, and specifically, of the presence of bittersweet on private and public lands in the Ada/Cascade area.