Good Turn for Nature

In October, scouts spent around 200 hours working at Bitternut Woods cleaning up trash and removing invasive plant species!

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Cub scout holds removed invasive honeysuckle at Bitternut Woods for Good Turn for Nature!

This past fall the Children of Indiana Nature Park teamed up with the Boy Scouts of America’s Crossroads of America Council for Good Turn for Nature, the council’s community service project, Parks and natural areas around central Indiana hosted Boy Scouts by providing opportunities for hands-on conservation activities and engage them in our natural world. It was an amazing experience!

Approximately 200 Scouts worked within 16 host sites. At one location, Bitternut Woods in Hamilton County, a total of 147 scouts volunteered over 200 hours doing invasive honeysuckle removal! That’s a lot of dead honeysuckle!

Honeysuckle may look pretty, but what these scouts did is important! Bush honeysuckles are large shrubs that can grow anywhere between 6 and 15 feet fall. They are the first to leaf out in the spring and the last to lose their dark green leaves in the fall.

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Above: Honeysuckle blooms

Honeysuckle - like most invasive plants – was planted with good intentions. It was used in landscaping, to control erosion, and to created wildlife cover and food source. However, honeysuckles grow quickly and form dense thickets that block sunlight and prevent anything from growing underneath. Native plants are pushed out and honeysuckle can continue to take over. Some honeysuckle species even send chemicals into the soil that are toxic to other plants! Birds also help to spread honeysuckle by eating the berries then expelling them in new areas.

After their service work at Bitternut Woods, one scout leader shared this wonderful story:

“I remember you saying the honeysuckle was used in landscaping for homes… Well, guess what I found on the corner of my house, honeysuckle!! Fortunately, I have two cub scouts who confirmed it was honeysuckle. Then they used their experience gained from the weekend to help remove it. Even putting the branches with berries in the trash to keep the birds from getting them,” Cub Scout Pack 132 Leader told us.

Thank you to all the scouts who offered their time and skills to care for our lands!  Good Turn for Nature will be held again in 2019.

Cub Scout Pack 132 worked hard to remove invasive honeysuckle and trash:
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