Augsburg News

News Archives - 2005

Busting Buckthorn: Students at the Dodge Nature Center

April 2005

Within weeks of beginning college, 50 first-year biology students were out of the classroom and in the woods, chopping down the pesky buckthorn that was choking out native plant life.

Their assignment for the day at the Dodge Nature Center was to learn about the cause and effect when alien plant species are introduced, and to help rid the center of these invaders. It's all part of their Biological Diversity course.

It's also part of the Augsburg Seminar (AugSem), the program for first-year students that helps ease the transition into college studies and campus life. It's the second year that the Biology Department has scheduled this day for the entire department and especially for new studentsto learn, work, and serve together. Professors, staff, and upperclass biology majors serve as the crew leaders in the woods, and everyone pitches in to make the most of the day.

Many of the AugSem students already knew about buckthorn from their earlier "Walk in the City" in the Seward neighborhood around campus and along West River Parkway. They saw how easily residential gardens with buckthorn hedges provide the seed sources for the wild buckthorn that eventually crowds out other plants along the river gorge trails.