Reflections: Student Experience at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden
Lia Pizarro is a third-year journalism and communication student.
Nothing kicks off a 75-year celebration quite like hand-pulling weeds out from a protected wildlife environment, yet the 2016-2017 Summer Orientation Leaders showed us just how fun and rewarding it could be. These leaders kicked off the very first Campus to Community initiative of the school year with a successful trip to Fletcher Wildlife Garden. This year also marks the beginning of the 75 Campus to Community Days to commemorate Carleton’s 75th anniversary. Campus to Community Days, formerly known as the Days of Service, are one-day community service learning opportunities for students to serve both on and off of campus.
The garden the Summer-O team visited, which contains many natural habitats and wildlife species, is Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club’s project. The group’s main task of the day was to help out with the Invasive Species Project, which focuses on various experiments that effectively control the dog-strangling vine. The vine, which spreads rapidly, is difficult to manage and is a harmful threat to other plants in the garden.
From the start of their day, the team was eager and enthusiastic to pitch in and get started. In the three hours they spent at the garden, the team was given a brief tutorial of their jobs, learned more about the wildlife, and were able to clear out the invasive species from the entire west edge of the woods.
(Photo taken by Jessica Needham)
While the overall experience of the day was fun, the trip was also a great time for reflection and appreciation. The team was able to use their day off from work as a way to give back to the community and engage in a local service project, as well as getting to spend time with one another in a different environment. The project also helped to advocate for the garden and all of the work that the club does to support the wildlife and the surrounding community.
The team feels that their participation went beyond just their physical contribution to the garden. It became a way to spread the word and get more people involved. Their community partner was thoroughly impressed with their efforts and as a team they reflected and realized that even though one day at the garden wouldn’t solve the invasive species issue right away, the time and hard work they put into the project was much more rewarding.
Fletcher Wildlife Garden continued their partnership with Carleton University through the annual Carleton Serves event on September 24th. Almost 30 students took part in the initiative towards getting rid of the dog-strangling vine, collecting about 18 bags of the vine’s seedpods.
Despite this being a huge accomplishment, the garden continues to welcome any additional help from students. There are further opportunities for students to sign up for a Campus Community Days at Fletcher Wildlife Garden on October 10th, 15th or 22nd. Sign up here: https://carleton.ca/seo/community/days/
To keep up with this initiative and to learn about more opportunities, follow our online story at http://carleton.ca/seo/75days.
(Photo by Emily Swift)