Washington Middle School Environmental Club members invite the public to join them for a communitywide invasives removal day Saturday, March 9, from 10 a.m. to noon at Miller-Post Nature Reserve in Washington.

The Miller-Post Nature Reserve is located west of Grand Avenue and south of West Main Street, behind Grandview Healthcare Center, near the city fairgrounds.

The Environmental Club, led by adviser Stefanie Virgen and Virgen Stream Team, will spearhead efforts to remove invasive bush honeysuckle.

Future plans include tagging of trees and creation of an educational arboretum.

Because the reserve is part of the riparian corridor of St. John’s Creek, Virgen Stream Team No. 5403 will contribute resources, prizes and help to these efforts. The goal is to garner as much community participation in this project as possible.

All citizens are invited to participate.

Part of the original goal of the family who donated the land was to connect back to the schools in meaningful ways, provide a place where disadvantaged people could experience a “state park” environment without having to travel, and to preserve the land for all Washington residents now and in the future.

“Connecting my students back to this resource by giving our efforts to improve it and promote its value to our community, I am also honoring the original wishes of the Miller family,” Virgen said. “The first time we stepped foot in Miller-Post Nature Reserve, not long after it was opened, my children and I felt like we were exploring a hidden jewel. We wandered along St. John’s Creek through the woods, traipsed along the trails until we discovered a beautiful pond rimmed with bluffs, marveled at the lake and old house that rose suddenly while cresting the hill.

“I had no idea at the time that it would be this house and surrounding area that would be the site of an educational arboretum as WMS Environmental Club partners with the parks department, to make those plans,” she added. “All that occurred to me at the time was that the lovely trails were choked with invasives and that there was a nice variety of Missouri natives just waiting to be identified for the education of all the community.”

After much work behind the scenes, Virgen was told that she had been granted enthusiastic permission from the Miller-Post Advisory Board to move forward with this project.

In January, she obtained permission from the parks department for various events: two invasives removal events in March and April, one Arbor Day event in April hosted by the parks department, a September event in which WMS students will donate and install tree tags for community education, and an October event planting within an educational arboretum created in partnership between WMS Environmental Club and the Parks Department.

People who preregister by Feb. 22 may be eligible for a free T-shirt and/or goodie bag courtesy of Virgen Stream Team.

The registration form is available on the district website.