LSU Biology Service-Learning Class Has Grant Funding Renewed
Keep Louisiana Beautiful Helping Fund Coursework on Invasive Species
BATON ROUGE – Keep Louisiana Beautiful, or KLB, has renewed grant funding for another year to support invasive plant removal efforts in the LSU Department of Biology. Students in BIOL 4245, under the direction of Barry Aronhime, participate in a service-learning project each semester at BREC’s Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center to help eradicate Colocasia Escuelenta, an invasive species of plant more commonly known as elephant ear. Invasive species such as elephant ear reduce the diversity and prevalence of native plants, essentially taking over nature areas. In coordination with the Youth Wetlands Program, Aronhime’s students have contributed over 1,200 hours at the swamp removing and trying to combat the negative effects of elephant ear.
The KLB grant will provide funding for the purchase of native plants like pickerel weed and wild iris to be used to replace the elephant ear once it has been removed. KLB funding is critical because some native plants like pickerel weed and wild iris are not abundantly available and must be bought commercially or acquired through donations from groups like Longue Vue House and Gardens. Students visited the nature center during the first weeks of October to remove the elephant ear, plant native species and collect data.
Keep Louisiana Beautiful, Inc. is Louisiana’s anti-litter and community improvement organization focused on education, enforcement, awareness and cleanups. Affiliated with Keep America Beautiful, their mission is to “promote personal, corporate, and community responsibility for a clean and beautiful Louisiana.”
For more information about service-learning courses offered at LSU, visit the Center for Community Engagement, Learning and Leadership, or CCELL, at www.lsu.edu/ccell.