Weeding invasive Mexican Devil (Ageratina adenophora) in the hillside: Nature based learning and outdoor education activity

Mexican Devil (Ageratina adenophora synonym Eupatorium adenophorum), commonly known as Crofton weed, is a species of flowering plant in the family Asteraceae native to Mexico and Central America. Initially grown as an ornamental plant, it has now become invasive into forests, hillslopes, roadside and farmlands.

It forms dense colonies and prevents the seedlings of native species from establishing in a wide range of habitats. This invasive species is a serious problem in the hillside, as it is slowly replacing vulnerable species and limiting growth and development of various other important plant species.

Locally known as Kala bhasa, it changes the microbial composition which hampers the growth of local plants, thus forming dense mono cultures and reducing the native biodiversity. Such an invasion of alien species is recognized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature(IUCN) as the second greatest agent of species endangerment and extinction, after habitat destruction. There is an immediate need to prevent dispersal of seeds during the months of March‐April, as flowers are in full bloom. Mechanical weeding out the plant by uprooting and burning the entire plant (with roots) seems the most viable method. The control of the invasive species is achievable through continuous and diligent effort, year after year.

In this regard, students carried out mass weeding out activities in the hillside through nature-based learning. It is a form of environmental education that focuses on the study of forest ecology and the use of natural processes to help with weeding out unwanted plants in the forest. It is an effective way to teach students about the importance of conservation, while also helping them understand how invasive plants can cause harm to our forests. By understanding the ecology of a forest, students can learn how to identify and remove invasive plants from their environment. Nature-based learning can also help us better understand our role in protecting our forests from destruction caused by human activities.

Nature based learning activities can be a great way for kids to learn about ecology and identify unwanted plants. By engaging in outdoor learning activities, children can develop an understanding of the environment and its importance to their own lives. Through hands-on exploration, they can gain knowledge about different types of plants, their characteristics, and how they interact with each other. Additionally, they can learn to identify weeds and understand why it’s important to remove them from gardens or landscapes. Nature based learning activities are a fun way for kids to explore the outdoors while gaining valuable knowledge about ecology and weed identification.

Involving children in conservation efforts is a great way to help protect the environment. By getting children involved in weeding out unwanted plants in the forest, they can learn about the importance of protecting our natural resources and how their actions can make a difference. Not only does this help to keep our forests healthy, but it also provides children with an opportunity to learn about nature and how they can contribute to its preservation
Involving children in conservation efforts also helps to instill values such as respect for nature and responsibility towards our planet. This knowledge can then be passed on from generation to generation, helping ensure that future generations are aware of their role in preserving the planet’s resources.

I hope you enjoyed the article about the issue of invasive Mexican Devil (Ageratina adenophora) in the hillside. I have found many success stories of students who have used learning activities to get their hands dirty and learn about invasive species in their natural environment. If you or your students need help with any of these topics, I would be happy to help out! Please let me know if you have any questions or comments. I will be glad to hear from you! If you would like to know more about invasive species, visit the site at http://www.chandrimadebi.com

Thank you for reading.

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Published by Dr. Chandrima Debi

Hi, I am Chandrima Debi. I am a Doctorate in Forestry and an independent researcher. Ever since childhood, I experienced deep-rooted connection with nature, forest and wildlife. I have written various research articles, case studies based on geology, forests, medicinal plants, biodiversity and conservation. Through this blog I share my experiences with nature and forests around us and aid towards the protection and conservation of biodiversity, wildlife and the values associated.

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