On Sunday March 12, local boy scouts completed the requirements to earn their Environmental Science merit badge – which is one of the required badges for the rank of Eagle Scout. At the Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead, Ranger Jess hosted a three part environmental science project focused on invasive species for the scouts with the assistance of the scouts’ parents and SDRP volunteers.
The first part of the project was a tour of some of the restoration projects done at Sikes that included removing invasive plant species and replacing them with native California plants, as seen in the staging area parking lot, pollinator garden, and native plant garden. Scouts learned about biodiversity, native plant identification, and the benefits of native plants while having interactive experiences smelling and touching plants. The second part of the project was a 12’ x 12’ randomized plant survey conducted in two different zones – one shady riparian habitat by the creek and another in a dry and open area uphill. This project engaged the scouts (and adults!) in helping to identify all the plants and animal species within the plotted area. Then, scouts compared which area had the greatest number of biodiversity – which was the riparian zone. The third part of the project involved removing invasive plant species along the trail edge, like poison hemlock, stinging nettle, bull thistle, and mustard. This activity helped the participants identify invasive species and the proper ways to remove them by utilizing tools and gloves. Overall, the scouts enjoyed themselves and reported that they learned a lot about plants, habitat, and environmental science that day!