Geography club gets hands dirty

Members of the geography club spent Friday morning uprooting a densely crowned invasive species from Frankenlust Township Nature Park.

Autumn olive, scientifically referred to as Elaeagnus umbellate, is an extremely competitive plant that has gradually pushed out other native plants in the nature park.

“The ultimate goal of our habitat restoration project was then to control the plant by removing it from sections of the park and keeping it from re-sprouting again next year,” Amanda Ruffini, geography club president, said.

Eight people were involved with the project, including adviser Rhett Mohler, assistant professor of geography, and Martin Arford, associate professor of geography, who organized the project.

“This … project has allowed us as a club to not only exercise knowledge we have gained through our study of geography, but it has also allowed us to understand the environment and the impact it has on our local community,” Ruffini said. “It was a great opportunity to not only test and apply our knowledge, but also work together as a club to give back and help maintain the environment.”

Adam Dupuis, executive board member, noted that this project was just one example of the practicality the discipline of geography has in the world.

“(We want) students to see some of the really interesting things the field of geography has to offer,” Dupuis said.

The most interesting thing about geography, in Dupuis’ opinion, is its applicability.

“Geography is important … because it is a subject that can be applied to assist nearly every other major,” he said.

“Chemistry, for instance, can utilize Geographic Information System programs to create a Soil and Water Assessment Tool which allows us to model the amount of nutrients that are washed downstream from a rain event. Really, geography is the study of human beings, how they interact with the world and other groups of people and the world itself … It truly is the all-encompassing discipline.”

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