Students from the J.R. Briggs Elementary School in Groton, MA studied invasive purple loosestrife in a local wetlands with their community partners at the Nashua River Watershed Association.
They decided to try out several different methods for controlling purple loosestrife and compared the results. Their study was designed to test whether methods such as releasing loosestrife-eating beetles would reduce the number of plants in a test area.
In the fall, students visited the wetland and quantified loosestrife stems in control and test areas, then applied invasive plant control techniques, including releasing beetles that eat the invasive species. They returned in the spring to gather data on each of the areas again. Although none of the methods they tested appeared to be effective in this small study, they learned a lot about invasive species and the problem of purple loosestrife, which scientists are working to solve.