Students from Will James and Joliet Middle Schools had a chance to get out of the classroom and enjoy the warm weather on Tuesday. 

KULR-8 went to Riverfront Park to learn about the invasive species affecting the area. 

"The kids are happy not to be in school. The kids all love Montana and want to learn how to keep Montana the way it is so right here today they are first hand learning how to keep Montana beautiful," said Megan Hoyer, Education Specialist with the Yellowstone County Weed District. 

Hoyer organized the outdoor education opportunity to educate 7th graders about the various invasive species, affecting Riverfront Park and other parts of the county.  

An important invasive species mentioned today is the Leafy Spurge, which has already overrun the banks of the Yellowstone River, and is making its way down to Riverfront Park. 

If you're wondering what Hoyer was wearing, she dressed up as one of those Leafy Spurges, to show the kids how the plant can spread all over the park. The invasive species from Europe can reproduce through its seeds and long roots, and is poisonous to cattle and horses.  

"Every time we try to mow or use fire, or a different management technique on it, more of it just starts to grow so right now our efforts are just to keep it on the river and try to keep it out of Riverfront Park," Hoyer said. 

Kids learned how to identify the difference between native species and noxious weeds present in Montana, giving thema  chance to apply what they learn in the classroom, to the outdoors.

"This has been a great opportunity for them to get outside this year and get to see actual noxious weeds we've been studying and as well as native plants," said 7th Grade Life Science Teacher at Will James, Anjuli Ross. 

"Coming out here before when we learned about them it's like 'oh cool tree cool tree' and now its like oh that's a willow tree you know what kind of stuff it is its really cool," said 7th Grade Will James student, Keenan Mallioux. 

Hoyer said humans are the top spreader of invasive plant species, so it's important for everyone to be on the lookout, and stop these noxious weeds from spreading. 

"Just kind of being aware of your surroundings you know if you're a property owner know whats on your property if there's a certain park that you like to know start getting familiar with what's there and how things run and make sure we're not disrupting those ecosystems," Hoyer advised. 

Multiple companies and experts helped make the event possible. They were: Carbon County Weed District, Nutrien Solutions, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, MWCA South Central Area, Yellowstone County Weed District. 

And, Wheatland County Weed Department, Rocky Mountain College, Yellowstone County Extension, Montana Audubon Center, Billings City Parks, Invasive Species Action Network, Magic City Fishers, Musselshell/Golden Valley Weed Department, and the Stillwater County Weed Department. 

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