People visiting Sanders Preserve in Glenville can now do their part in stopping the spread of invasive species thanks to a local Girl Scout.
Arrianna Stark, a senior at Scotia-Glenville High School, received her Gold Award Saturday morning at the preserve where she built a boot brushing station for people to clean their treads before making their way onto the preserve.
The Gold Award is the highest Girl Scout honor, according to the new recipient.
“It feels really good,” Stark said about creating the station. “It was something I really wanted to do, but didn’t know how to do it.”
The project included working with Capital Region Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management, the Schenectady County Invasive Species Committee and the town of Glenville to map invasive species in Sanders Preserve and then build the boot brushing station, which also offers educational information on invasive species.
Stark, a Girl Scout since Kindergarten, said during the shutdown of the pandemic she spent a lot of time hiking at the local spot. She realized during that time that she needed to do her part to keep invasive species out. That’s when her scout project and passion for the preserve clicked.
Three common invasive species located in the preserve are multiflora rose, honeysuckle and oriental bittersweet, said Kristopher Williams, invasive species coordinator with the Capital Region PRISM.
The Capital Region PRISM, which is funded by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, provided around $1,200 to aid Stark in her project, according to Williams.
Williams said invasive species can reduce the biodiversity of an area. They can also cause economic and health issues for people.
“I encourage people to do their part,” she said.
Glenville Supervisor Chris Koetzle said the town is appreciative of the work Stark has done.
“It’s right in line with what we’re trying to achieve with educating residents on invasive species,” he said. “It’s all about stopping the spread.”
Koetzle said the boot brushing station is easy to use, comparing it to the shoe cleaning stations seen at golf courses. He said you put your shoe on the brush and run it back and forth, scrapping the dirt and seeds from plants off it. The station will be maintained by the town, according to the town leader.
Stark said doing the project helped her realize she wanted to study environmental sciences in college.