Twenty East Grand Rapids Middle School students spent Friday, May 3rd caring for Rum Creek. This event was part of the United Way’s Day of Caring, an annual event to promote the value in volunteerism. These students, along with 350 other classmates, participated in a variety of volunteer efforts around the Grand Rapids area.
Trout Unlimited, along with the Dwight Lydell Chapter of the Izaak Walton League, worked with the students to talk about invasive species and the value of native plants. The students helped to pull garlic mustard, a European exotic, around Rum Creek. Garlic mustard is rapidly becoming one of Michigan’s worst woodland weeds. Invaded sites undergo a decline on native plant cover within 10 years. Garlic mustard alters habitat suitability for native insects and thereby birds and mammals.
The group spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning up trash in and around Rum Creek. Students picked up a variety of items that could be harmful to fish and other animals including glass bottles, plastic bags, and tires. This is the tenth year East Grand Rapids Middle School has taken part in the Day of Caring.
This event was part of the Rogue River Home Rivers Initiative project, a multi-year watershed-based restoration project funded through the Wege, Frey, and Wolverine Worldwide foundations, the local Schrems West Michigan Trout Unlimited, and Robert DeVilbiss.