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Students clear noxious weeds in Sun River Canyon

Students clear noxious weeds in Sun River Canyon
Posted at 5:53 PM, May 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-18 11:16:49-04

NEAR AUGUSTA — Students from Great Falls and Simms are doing their part and pulling their share of weeds.

The "pull your share" project gets students to learn about environmental issues - specifically, the importance of removing invasive weeds.

Jill Allen, Jefferson County’s weed coordinator, explained, "Invasive species affect everyone, not just farmers and ranchers, and this event today is really to help teach the younger generation the importance of taking care of their wildlife.”

Dan Wilkins, who has been with the project since its inception, hopes to spread the project across the state: “I know it may sound like a little bit of a crazy dream but if everyone pulls their share of 5 to 15 minutes of just pulling some weeds, it makes a difference.”

Wilkins said of knapweed: "The plant puts a chemical in the soil called catechin. Catechin in the soil is toxic and it prevents other plants, especially forage plants, from growing in that area. So we could end up with a monoculture, this knapweed, say in this game range and the elk wouldn't be able to survive the winter because it doesn't have enough nutritional value for the elk.”

The project began in 2017 with just a few schools participating, and has grown to an annual trip with more and more schools participating as the years go on.

The first year only featured about 60 students and now has more than 200 students involved each year. “We’ve had three schools added this year and we hope to keep that up by adding more schools,” said Wilkins.

If you’re interested in learning more about the “Pull Your Share” program, contact Wilkins at 406-750-4116 or danwilkinspys@gmail.com.


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