This past weekend, I participated in my first invasive species coastal island clean-up off Siesta Key. This experience offered me insight into the effect that these species have in our environment, and the complexity of this issue. The Sarasota Bay Watch explained the alien species we would collectively be aiming to eliminate, which was that of Brazilian Peppers, Carrotwood and Australian Pines.
We studied the plants, and until we were able to identify them, we could not remove any species. As we gathered our tools, we formulated groups and ventured off on our mission. As we explored Edwards Island (adjacent to Skier’s Island), I noticed the dense thickets of Brazilian Peppers that coursed through the park, and the tall Australian Pines that crowd the island. Seeing these issues on the forefront impacted my views on the issues we are facing locally and how we can tackle them. Collectively in four hours, our group of ten high school students cleared a large area of these alien species on the island. To think, if we came together and participated in these efforts regularly, we would eliminate this problem once and for all. The power of teamwork and knowledge of our surroundings can truly change our community!
Until next time,
National Honor Society President