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Keystone College students give back to campus for Earth Day

Environmental science students spent part of their day working to remove invasive species.

LA PLUME, Pa. — You may not know that Keystone College's campus extends far past any buildings onto more than 200 acres of woods known as the Woodland Campus.

That part of campus is where many of the college's environmental science students are spending time these days.

In honor of Earth Day this week, the students are sprucing up the Woodland Campus, which is also home to hiking trails and the south branch of Tunkhannock Creek.

"Mostly just spreading awareness about why the environment is an important thing to protect. Why are we trying to fill empty spaces with trees? Why are we trying to protect these riparian zones? There's a lot of educational opportunities for students here this week," Keystone adjunct instructor Cody Sears.

The students are working hard cutting invasive species from along the banks of the creek. The plants overtake native species and disrupt habitats for animals.

"They also support other invasive species like ticks. Japanese Barberry, they increase tick populations locally. So, taking out the invasive Japanese Barberry will take down and control the tick populations a little bit better," said Keystone wildlife biology student Ty Sharrow.

While this week, the students are focused on removing invasive species, last week, it was all about planting.

The students planted about 400 native trees across Keystone College's Woodland Campus.

The new trees will help give the native plant life here a fighting chance along with the students' efforts.

They told Newswatch 16 it's a chance to give back to the living classroom that's given them so much.

"If we don't make a stand as the Keystone Woodland Campus, the environmental students, the ones who are supposed to be the experts in this field, who else is going to?" Sears added.