When most of us hear about the Conservation Corps, usually the first phrase that comes to mind is, “what’s that?” The Conservation Corps is a small group of students alongside Dr. Black who manage the school’s open spaces with biodiversity in mind. They are dedicated to protecting a number of animals and plant species as well as maintaining the school’s many trails and paths. One of their largest problems at the moment is the ever-present issue of invasive plant species.
Over the years, our beautiful and vast campus has acquired some unwanted shrubbery, shrubbery that is flushing Groton School’s biodiversity and abundance of naturally present organisms down the drain. What exactly is an invasive species? To sum it up, it is a species of foreign organisms that move into a habitat and upset the system’s entire ecological balance. One of the direct results of these invasive species is that the Blanding Turtle’s and Spotted Turtle’s nesting sites are withering away. These turtles like to “cozy up” alongside native tree roots and lay their eggs for the year. With the population of invasive plants ever growing and the population of native one’s decreasing, good nesting sites are becoming sparse.
Along with the deterioration of these nesting sites come some pretty nasty consequences. When turtles lay their eggs, very few survive the first few years. With the quality and quantity of nesting sites going downhill, the number of surviving turtles plummets and the number of decomposing turtle carcasses goes up.
As if protecting helpless adorable turtle babies wasn’t enough, the corps also has a community service aspect. Anyone who’s ever run the triangle knows just how well maintained the trails on campus are (they also know how brutal running the triangle is). The corps takes care of our trails, cleaning and keeping them up so that joggers, nature admirers, and all others don’t get lost out in the woods.
Unfortunately, the Corps will only be active during fall term of this year. In the past they have gone year round, preserving, conserving, and helping out all through the school year. It’s already too late to hop on board for this year’s session of the Corps, but next year will be here faster than you think. The Conservation Corps is open to all Upper Schoolers, so if you’re a Fourth through Sixth Former who has an interest in the nature surrounding you and want to take an active part in maintaining it, the Conservation Corps, which meets from three to five four times per week, may just be your savior.