SAGE Club joins Bloomington Parks and Rec for Weed Wrangle

Betsy Moore, Staff Writer

In recent years in Bloomington, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of invasive plant species harming our ecosystem. While these weeds can be found all over town, parks and forests are impacted the most. South’s club SAGE (Students Advocating for a Greener Environment) is teaming up with the City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation for the weekly Winter Weed Wrangle at the Lower Cascades Park. The group will spend several hours each Saturday from now until the end of February to restore these ecosystems by eliminating the invasive species such as the Asian Bush Honeysuckle.

Seniors Ella Goldman, the SAGE Nature Education and Recreation Director, and Chloe Borders, the SAGE Social Media and Outreach Coordinator, are leading the group participation in the weed wrangle. “The City of Bloomington organizes weed wrangles pretty regularly at Lower Cascades, and our group has done a lot at Winslow,” said Goldman. “The goal is to mitigate harmful plant species in the parks in Bloomington,” Goldman said. “They create an unhealthy ecosystem and decrease biodiversity,” according to Borders. Using tools and herbicides, the group removes the harmful species and then plants new seeds of healthy plants, such as oaks and hickories. “We spray a herbicide onto the cut-down plants so they won’t regrow,” said Goldman. “Getting rid of these invasive plants is better for the environment and for people,” said Borders. For example, the main focus of the weed wrangle, the Asian Bush Honeysuckle can bring in an abundance of ticks. 

“To increase the percentage of native plants in the parks is better for the ecosystem overall,” said Goldman. “The weed wrangle is a really fun experience that improves our community as a whole.” 

Anyone ages 12 and up can volunteer at the weed wrangle; information and dates can be found on the City of Bloomington website.