Century College students help maintain trail areas at Maplewood Nature Center

Century College Students Honored for Environmental Service

BY NANCY LIVINGSTON

The City of Maplewood has honored Century College  biology students and Prof. Joy Cedarleaf for 10 years of service related to managing and caring for natural resources in an urban  environment.

Over the years, Century students have provided over  4,500 hours of service on projects such as planting rain gardens, planting  trees, removing buckthorn, weeding, seeding prairie, pruning, clearing trails  and installing signs.

“It’s been good for the city, good for the  environment and good for the students,” said Cedarleaf, who takes students into  the community for service learning projects six to 10 times per semester.  “Working in the field makes what students are learning in the classroom much  more meaningful.”

For example, Cedarleaf noted that Maplewood is  known for its leadership in the planting of rain gardens to clean and filter  toxins out of rain water before it goes into the water table. Century students  have helped plant the gardens and maintain them.

Maplewood is also  known for purchasing land for open space, and Century students have helped  remove invasive species such as buckthorn and oriental bittersweet from these  areas so that young oak trees and other native species can  grow.

Students say it is worthwhile to learn about activities that  can immediately impact the local ecosystem. “Doing these projects makes class  more interesting and interactive,” said Century student Deven Kelley of  Stillwater. “ It helps us understand the importance of what we are learning in  the classroom.”

Century College

Joy Cedarleaf

Some students said the work has sparked their  interest in pursuing careers related to natural resources and conservation.  Century student Hannah Leeper said she is aiming for a career in forestry or  wildlife. Ben Brown said he would like to work in fisheries.

Areas  that have benefitted from the work of Century students include the Maplewood  Nature Center, Joy Park, Edgerton Community Gardens, the Bruentrup Heritage  Farm, the Priory Preserve, and the Fish Creek bluff area along Hwy.  61.

Nancy Livingston is director of community relations and college advancement for Century College. Joy Cedarleaf photo courtesy of Nancy Livingston. Outdoor photo courtesy of Joy Cedarleaf