Kids at Oakland Nature Preserve summer camp engage in an educational conservation project using beetles to combat the widespread growth of an invasive weed called the air-potato vine.
The Oakland Nature Preserve, a nonprofit organization that focuses on conservation, restoration and education recently hosted a four-week summer camp for children from first to sixth grade. While they gear their summer camps to be fun for the kids, they ensure the process involves hands-on environmental education.
The education comes in the form of nature crafts, classes and field trips that both encourage younger generations to get involved with conservation projects and understand the challenges ecosystems face.
A recent project they undertook on Thursday, July 21, is the release of hundreds of air potato leaf beetles throughout the preserve in an effort to combat the growth of an invasive weed which is strangling and killing Florida-native plants and trees: the air-potato vine.
The weed was brought over from Asia and Africa in 1905 as a garden plant, however, after the recognition of its detrimental effect to native plants, state agencies have been making efforts to reduce its widespread invasion with the use of natural predators.