Covered in dirt, ash, and a little bit of blue, the "Lost Marbles" WRT crew had a blast working with MCC alumni Vince Nagashima and Zach Cardosi. It's not every day that you have Project Partners who once stood where you are now as a part of the MCC family. Together with Vince and Zach, I led my crew up the side of the oh-so-fondly nicknamed "Knapweed Mountain". Although it was a struggle to scale the slippery and unstable terrain, we were rewarded with a spectacular view of Yellowstone National Park! After we hiked to the top it was time to spray 3 gallons worth of our marvelously blue herbicide on the highly noxious and invasive Spotted Knapweed (Centaurea stoebe).
To readers who are unfamiliar with this plant, let me share a bit of what I've learned about it this summer. Spotted knapweed is an invasive plant that originates from Europe and Asia. Classified as a noxious weed, this perennial plant actually produces allelopathic compounds that will prevent native plants from growing in the same area. This has an overall impact on the health of the ecosystem by reducing the amount of suitable food and habitat for wildlife. It's important for the rangers like Vince and Zach to prevent the spread of knapweed so they can protect America's first national park from environmental degradation. So who better to call for help than MCC? After all, they walked plenty of miles in our shoes before were ever project partners.