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Miner’s Marsh Invasive Species Project

Grade 7 Students at KCA
Kentville, Nova Scotia


As part of the Science 7 curriculum, students are required to participate in an action project, implement an environmental stewardship plan, and investigate factors that affect species adaptation and evolution. The Grade 7 Students at KCA participated in a year-long action project to help support the health of the Miner’s Marsh ecosystem in Kentville, Nova Scotia.

Students walked to Miners Marsh in October to have a look at the existing ecosystem in Miner’s Marsh.

During this walk, students identified the common invasive and native species in the marsh. A walkthrough of the marsh to identify invasive species was also done the following Spring. Once students were able to identify the invasive species of concern, they returned to the marsh the following week to remove the invasive species plants.

The students removed a large portion of gout weed from the marsh, and replanted several native species in the area (i.e., swamp milkweed, common elderberry, joe pye weed, and yellow marsh marigolds). At the end of the project, students filled out a Google Form on their experience of the project. Most of the students enjoyed the opportunity to be active, and removing the invasive gout weed species. Students were able to learn a lot from this project, especially the fact that invasive species often look very similar to “any other regular plant”, that they can cause irreversible damage, spread very quickly and how to properly dispose of the plant.

The remainder of this report has been written by the Grade 7 students and is reflective of their experience with the Invasive Species Council, GOMI (Gulf of Maine Institute), the Clean Foundation Action Climate Grant Program and their overall “Action Project”.


Some of the benefits of removing the invasive species and replacing them with native plants are that invasive species won’t grow back and native species won't grow over the other plants like invasive species. The invasive can't kill other plants and the native ones are able to grow and live healthier. More animals will have more room to live and animals will get the food and nutrients to eat.

It is also better for the environment because the invasive ones change the ecosystem. It improves the health of the native plants because invasive species can’t take over native species' land. It also helps the marsh because there is now more food for insects. It helps native species because it gives them more land to grow from the sun. It also improves the ecology of native species.


Some of the challenges we faced was there were so many invasive species to take out in one day so there were still some invasive species left at the marsh. We were still able to get a lot of them removed. Another challenge we faced was trying to get the invasive species out of the ground, we had to pull everything including the root of the plant and that was sometimes difficult to do without a trowel. Additionally, it was also a lot of work to get the plants from the ground into the bag because we didn’t want to bring any additional soil from the ground if it was not needed. Therefore, we would remove the plants, shake out the soil and then put them in the bag.

Another challenge we faced throughout the project were the trails being shut down, which ended up delaying our final trip back to the marsh to re-plant the native species. However, the trails were opened up shortly after our original planned date and so we were still able to go. When we arrived back at the Marsh on our final trip to plant the native species, we had found that a lot of the goutweed had already begun to grow back. It was easy for us to then see how invasive these species really could be. We found it difficult to replant the native species into areas where they would flourish. This required a bit of research into the native species that we were planting to ensure they would have enough shade or sunlight. Once the native species were planted, some people in the group accidentally stepped on them because we were a large group with only a small amount of coordination. This might be a challenge if the public doesn’t know what species are native vs. invasive.


As a result of this action project, we were able to get rid of a significant amount of goutweed at the Kentville Miner’s Marsh. Using the Clean Foundation Climate Action Grant, we were able to purchase and plant several different native species, including 10 swamp milkweed, 5 joe pye, 20 yellow marsh marigolds and 1 common elderberry bush.


In conclusion, we feel that our trip to the marsh was a success as we got rid of most of the goutweed, which will help our environment by preventing it from spreading. Most importantly, the project taught us that invasive species are not good for our native plants, as they take up the space that the native species need to grow. By planting native species, it will also benefit those that live around the marsh, like birds who stop by for a quick snack of elderberries, or a monarch butterfly, who rely heavily on swamp milkweeds for sustenance. Now that we have planted these native species to the area, we hope that we’ve lessened the effect of invasive species on the environment in the Miner’s Marsh area.


Nova Scotia elementary children, led by their teachers Danielle LeBlanc and Sheila Parsons, Kings County Academy, Kentville, Nova Scotia

Cover Photo:

Goutweed also known as Ground Elder

Aegopodium podagraria

Illustration from Otto Wilhelm Thomé's Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz (1885)

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