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Fourth grade students turn invasive species posters into restaurant placemats

Story By Morgan Johnson
Local News Published 06/03/2021 4:23PM, Last Updated 06/11/2021 12:21PM
Star Lake - AIS stands for Aquatic Invasive Species. And in Wisconsin, they're a problem. From snails to crayfish to weeds, they can disrupt a healthy ecosystem.

So, the Arbor Vitae-Woodruff School fourth grade students wanted to make sure others knew the facts.

Every year the students participate in the Oneida County Land and Water Conservation statewide poster contest. This year the school came out with a handful of winning posters.

As a part of the school's community service values, the students brought their posters to the Stillwaters Restaurant in Star Lake to use as placemats.

"So they can learn how to prevent and stop the invasive in our lakes and to know not to spread them," said Brianna, a fourth grade student.

"It's very exciting," said Susan Jurries, the fourth grade teacher. "This is by far my favorite." Every year Jurries picks a topic to teach in depth.

"We love the Northwoods and fishing and so it all ties together and so if we can teach them when they're young, then they'll appreciate it when they get older," said Jurries.

The class went fishing, and this year discovered invasive species firsthand. The placemats take what the students learned to teach people at the restaurant

The first place poster was by fourth grade student Main Dyram, who learned about the rusty crayfish for his poster.

"I just think it was good to learn about it because we need to get the invasive species out of our lakes and help the food web and the ecosystem," said Dyram.

Whether they're found in waterways, bait buckets, or on shorelines, Jurries wants to make sure the students have what they need to improve Wisconsin's environment.

"Unless they are going to take the lead and make things better, who else is going to do it? They'll be here; they're going to be our future citizens so we have to train them now," said Jurries.
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