Massabesic hits the editorials

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    Flip to the Letters to the Editor in today's Portland Press Herald and you'll find a Massabesic student wishing us all an invasive-free holiday season! Here's the direct link: http://www.pressherald.com/opinion/letters/invasive-wreaths-need-careful....

Here's Elizabeth's letter (thanks for the plug, Elizabeth!!):
Invasive wreaths need careful disposal....

The holidays are upon us, and Christmas trees and wreaths are decorating our homes. Accidentally, invasive plants are sometimes used to decorate wreaths.

Multiflora rose is one of those beautiful invasive plants that is established in Maine and may be used. It has rose hips this time of year that look like bright red berries. One of my teachers hangs a wreath in the same spot near the front door each year. There is now a mysterious plant directly below that hanging spot. Looking at identifying pictures, the class is pretty sure that the mysterious plant is multiflora rose growing by the front door. It seems that this invasive rose used the holiday spirit to find a new place to establish itself.

The theme of our science class this year is invasive species. We have learned how they spread, the advantages they have over native species and how they can take over ecosystems. Multiflora rose spreads through the rose hips or when the tips of the stems fall to the ground. It is not all bad, as these rose hips are also good winter food for birds. But these birds help spread the seeds to new areas as well.

After the holidays, it might be a good idea to dispose of your wreath carefully if you suspect it might be decorated by invasive species. There are other berries to avoid in the future, like Japanese Barberry and Oriental Bittersweet. Winterberry makes a great native alternative. For more information on invasive species or help with identification, visit Vital Signs at http://vitalsignsme.org. This is the website where our class has learned a lot about invasive species.

Have a great, invasive-free holiday season!

Elizabeth Lord, Aroostook Team, Massabesic Middle School, East Waterboro