Students take up cat's claw battle

MONKLAND State School students are fighting the infestation of cat's claw creeper in the school rainforest.

The rainforest was established by the student council in 1984 by as apart of the school's centenary celebrations and has been used by the as an outdoor learning environment.

However in recent times the dreaded cat's claw vine has fully established itself and is beginning to strangle the native plants.

Students made a decision early in the year to do something about it and enlisted a team of local science and environmental gurus to assist in the take back of their rainforest.

Assisted by former Gympie Hammers hard man and now part-time surfer Don Reid, students decided the best way to tackle the issue was to understand the enemy and exploit its weakness.

Don pointed the students in the direction of Zela Bissett of Barambah Educational Centre who enlisted Gympie Landcare members Wendy McPherson and Gillian Crossley who have been working on a project involving the humble tingid bug.

The tingid bug loves cat's claw so much it has become part of its established diet.

The students figured if they could plant infected cat's claw vines in the local rainforest the Tingid Bug might flourish and halt further spread of the noxious creeper. The idea is to plant infected vines and dig up fresh vines for reinfection. To use the famous Panteen line, "it may not happen overnight, but it will happen".

Students thank all volunteers who made themselves available on the final Friday of term one with special thanks to Don Reid, Zela Bissett, Wendy McPherson and Gillian Crossley for their support and knowledge.