Pupils plan the future of natural spaces near schools

“You see how eroded the banks are,” said eighth-grader Blake Cole. In places where people like to come fishing, the shores of Salmon Lake near Polk County Middle School have been worn to bare red dirt. During a heavy rain, so much soil runs off that the pond turns a dull, muddy orange. Even on this sunny spring day, the green water looks cloudy.

The pond is so close to the school that it took Blake’s class just a few minutes to walk there. They’re happy to be out in the sun, laughing and pulling out English ivy. This hands-on activity – removing an invasive creeper growing on trees near the pond – is part of a larger project in which students are planning the future of natural areas near their school.

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