REU Students Initiate Spotted Knapweed Pull


Aug 07, 2013 Bookmark and Share

Deirdre Courtney

Deirdre Courtney, an REU student from Western Michigan University, pulls up spotted knapweed at the Biological Station.

Embracing the "Think Globally, Act Locally" philosophy, a group of student researchers took time to pull spotted knapweed at the end of July. The UMBS Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) is an NSF-funded, nationally competitive program. Each year, 10-11 students are selected to participate in "Biosphere-Atmosphere Interactions in a Changing Global Environment." They participate in seminars and workshops aimed at educating them broadly in climate change issues, as well as giving them critical thinking skills to apply in science research. Each student is paired with a faculty mentor. Under the mentor's guidance, students design their own research projects. By the end of the summer, each student has written a scientific paper based on that research.

"We thought it would be a good opportunity to give back to the Station," says REU co-director and Western Michigan University Professor David Karowe.  Karowe organized the knapweed pull. He hopes it is the beginning of an REU tradition.  On Sunday, July 28, REU students worked for two hours on a stretch of campus from the director's cabin to the Gates Lecture Hall  They pulled, dug and bagged 18 pounds -- 3 garbage bags full -- of the invasive plant.