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High school students 'pull their share' of noxious weeds

Biology students learned about the detrimental effects of noxious weeds
GFHS Educational Weed Pull.png
Posted at 2:45 PM, May 21, 2024

In Giant Springs State Park Monday morning, Great Falls High School biology students teamed up with land management to learn about the detrimental effects of noxious weeds, and to pull their share.

The students worked with land management professionals from the Montana Department of Agriculture and Giant Springs State Park to identify noxious weeds and learn about different career paths within the land management field.

The students were specifically identifying and pulling spotted knapweed, a non-native to Montana that overtakes natural forage, grasses, and rangeland. 2.5 million acres of Montana land is infested by spotted knapweed.

This decreases agriculture production while increasing production costs, which in turn drives up costs for us as consumers.

The students participate in educational weed pulls yearly, and this is the second year they pulled weeds at this location at Giant Springs State Park.

Biology teacher Brian Sullivan explains he was surprised back to the site and seeing how much more knapweed had grown, saying “I think the surprise is how resilient it is. You know, you come back year after year and it's still here. The best way not to have these problems is prevention and to make sure that they don't get a foothold in the area.”

Biology student Aletta Hagen explained her favorite part of the outing: “I think it's nice to get outside with my classmates and, you know, socialize while also doing something that's meaningful, so I think that's awesome. And then having this knowledge to be able to take away and share with other people as well. I think it's just good to be informed, you know, and get out there and don't be ignorant. You know, this is such a big issue, especially in Montana, where we have so much area like this for it to be impacted. So, you know, just stay informed.”

This is just one of numerous educational weed pulls happening this week, with different schools around Central Montana getting out and pulling weeds before seed heads can form on the plants. Once the seeds form in early summer, it is important to bag the pulled weeds and throw them away in order to keep the spread of seeds minimal.

Next time you’re out walking, hunting or fishing, take ten minutes to pull your share. Pulling weeds along hiking trails is especially ideal to prevent seeds from sticking to hikers and being transported to new locations.

To find out more about pulling your share, click here.

Great Falls High School students 'pull their share'