The following is the first in a set of guest posts written by students in my Environmental Science course this semester. Enjoy!
The sun beat down on the afternoon of Thursday, September 21 pushing temperatures to mid-90’s, but the heat was no match for the environmental science crew. During our lab time, we strolled a few blocks from campus to care for a prairie located on the outskirts of Lake Katherine Nature Center. The bluff the prairie was located on was formed when workers removed soil for the development of the Cal Sag channel. Now, this soil plays a large role in providing habitat to several natural organisms.
Our class’s job was to remove invasive species that were hindering the native species from thriving. These invasive species were most commonly woody species such as Buckthorn and Honeysuckle. These invasive plants were so successful in the Lake Katherine environment that they hindered natural species from growing to their full potential. It is the hope of the local environmentalist group that they will soon be able to conduct a controlled burn on the prairie bluff. This will aid in removing invasive species, but also return precious nutrients to the soil.
As Christians, we are called to be environmental stewards. This means that we are to use creation, but also care for it. Lake Katherine can be a great example of stewardship. The Cal Sag Channel was created, but the excess soil was not hauled away to serve no purpose, rather it is now the habitat to a prairie teeming with natural plants and animals. We used creation to create the Cal Sag Channel, yet also cared for creation in using the construction to benefit the local ecosystem. It is also important that we as Christians are willing to donate our time to care for God’s earth. On Thursday, we took time to pick up trash and cut down invasive plants. We are caring for an earth that does not belong to us, but stands as a showcase of God’s power and glory.
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I'm a biology professor at Trinity Christian College. I'll be using this page to share interesting stories related to ecology and conservation at Trinity and in the Chicago area (although I might be tempted to expand my geographic focus upon occasion).