The Coalition held a party for high school students in conjunction with continuing kudzu removal work at Peters Creek Heritage Preserve. A total of about 45 students participated from Broome and Chapman High Schools, and Spartanburg Day School. Most students, about 30, were student council members from Broome High School. This was the single largest kudzu fighting group ever assembled by the Coalition! Spartanburg mayor Bill Barnet, other officials, and the press were invited to witness activities. The Spartanburg Herald-Journal and the Spartanburg Journal printed nice articles about the event. All photographs are February 10, 2007.
Before getting started, Spartanburg mayor Bill Barnet (center) and students get a quick briefing on proper tool use for removing kudzu from Coalition volunteer Steve Patton. The mayor does not look convinced, but we thank the him for starting out his busy day with us!
Easter egg hunt? No, students are busy as bees working the ground to remove kudzu crowns, privet (the only green plants in the photographs!), and other undesirables. Hundreds of privet plants, which are very invasive, were removed from the preserve by students. The preserve protects endangered plants, but also contains artifacts that go back hundereds of years before privet and kudzu were present in the United States.
Pulling down vines from trees required team work, left. But there was time for snapshots too.
Broome students display trophies: A large kudzu vine (left), and a good-sized privet bush (right) . . .
. . . and take a break with good buddies.
The main event was a huge kudzu bonfire for a cold winter day! The pyre of kudzu vines and stumps was about 20 feet high, produced an enormous torch when lit, and was at least as tall as a three-story building. The Coalition plans to be less ambitious next time! The Coalition notified the local fire department of our plans in advance, but they stopped by to check up on us anyhow . . .
The reason for the fire was to roast weiners. However, it took a while for the fire to be ready so students snacked on chips and such. But you can only each so much of that before you get all chipped out . . .
We improvised in the cooking-utensil department, using a (clean) leaf rake for skewers. Students use use their coats and hoods in the second photograph as heat shields for the hot work. In the third photograph student advisor Pam Peeler (left) and Broome student sample overdone dogs. Yum!
The Preserve was turned into an impromptu picnic area.
And for dessert we had warm and gooey marshmallows: Thanks Dr. Newberry! Double yum!