Wiping out invasive species by wiping your feet

"Wipe Your Feet" sign in Charlevoix.

CHARLEVOIX COUNTY, Mich. (WPBN/WGTU)-- Deep in the woods of Charlevoix County, there is plenty of natural beauty to see. However, that natural beauty is being threatened by invasive species.

“Invasive species, when they come in, they really change the environment that’s here," said Emily Selph, a member of Leadership Charlevoix County. "We want to keep it as natural and native as possible.”

Leadership Charlevoix County is a class of adults dedicated to making a difference in the community. Once they noticed invasive species such as wild parsnip and garlic mustard have made their way into the area, the class had an idea. Invasive species are easily spread by humans, who can pick up numerous seeds on their boots. So the group chose to build "Wipe Your Feet" off stations at numerous trail heads,

“We had quite a few really good projects in front of us," said class member Erica Tosch. "This one, when it came out, was the one that everyone agreed on right away.”

“We found out really fast that people were supportive of it," said class member Stephanie Olszewski. "I don't think any of us expected the response that we got.”

The response was massive. Needing a local business to sponsor each station, the group had a goal of just five. However, the class secured sponsors for 24 different stations.

"Really rewarding," said Selph, reflecting on the class. "It’s really neat to meet so many people and make connections, and for the first time get involved in the community.”

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