CARE students harvest invasive plants to make useful botanicals

Putting weeds to good use

A group of Vernon students is using weeds for their medicinal properties.

CARE Botanicals is one of almost 50 projects being created by grade 7-12 students for the Climate Action Ripple Effect (CARE) Summit on Dec. 1.

Fulton Secondary School students Victoria Rush, Camryn Mackiewich, and Evangeline Schiehl harvested invasive plants to make medicinal teas, oils, and salves.

The students are part of the Awaken Inquiry and Adventure Okanagan (AIAO) program at Fulton.

Their project mentor is Norbert Maertens from the North Okanagan Naturalists Club.

After harvesting burdock, stinging nettle, and comfrey from the wetland behind the school, the students are now making healthy teas, oils, and salves packaged with original artwork that will be judged at the summit by a panel of nine local climate experts and advocates.

The goal of the project is to "build awareness of invasive species and how we can use them for good," instead of them taking over local ecosystems and out-competing local plants, says Schiehl.

Mackiewich says the project has brought her a "newfound love for foraging and making use of what nature has to offer right at our back door."

CARE is a student program supported by School District 22, the City of Vernon, Fresh Outlook Foundation, Community Foundation of North Okanagan, and local sponsors.

The students' projects will be judged at the summit at the Vernon Rec Centre.

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