If you ever wondered about the black spots on your maple tree, you’re not alone. Many homeowners wonder what this is and how to get rid of it. It is actually a fungus called tar spot, and is more of a nuisance. However, in some cases, the fungus will kill the tree. If you want to get rid of it there is only one answer. Rake the leaves–don’t mulch them! Many people think that mulching the leaves with tar spot is harmless, but really the fungus (which gets into the soil through mulching) goes into the roots of the tree and,over winter begins to make its way to the new leaves. If you want to get rid of the fungus, you are going to have to put in time, and effort to get this problem gone. However, in the end it will all be worth it. Another benefit is having a beautiful tree to look at.
A few of our CMS students took time out of their busy class schedules to pick Sassafras roots in our campus woods. During their adventure they encountered a large dying Sassafras tree. The boys decided to knock it down in hope to let the tree have another use in it’s life. They unearthed the roots and took them back to the classroom kitchen. Their fellow classmates were very surprised to see one to three foot roots laying about the room. Over a period of three days they had finally gathered up enough roots to begin making tea for the class. First, they cleaned and dried the roots. Next, they boiled the roots in three large pots of water. Lastly, they divided the tea into cups for the whole class to try. It was delicious! “That was the best tea we’ve ever had!”
Woven Cattail Mats are a great way to decorate your home. We made these at Central Middle School. They are super fun and easy to make. What we used to make these beautiful mats was cattails and tape. First we went outside to forage cattails. You can find these in swampy areas. After we collected the cattails, we put them in a safe spot and let them dry over night. The next day we soaked them in water for five minutes. After the they soaked we cut the cattails into equal lengths. We then taped some cattails down and started weaving. It was easy. All you need to do is go up, down, up, down. Be sure the leaves are packed densely enough to hold mat together. And now you have it, a beautiful mat to decorate your home.
Written by: Alexis Dillard and Lindsey Starks
Around Central Middle School, a very abundant plant is poison ivy. Poison Ivy is not a plant we want on the CM grounds for a number of reasons. The plant causes a itchy rash when the skin is exposed to the plant. A tip to prevent the itchy rash is to wash your skin with cold water after contact. You must use cold water because it closes the pores and does not allow the ingredients (Urushiol Oil) in the skin. Therefore if you do this within 30 minutes of exposure you should be able to prevent the rash.
There is only one poisonous snake in Michigan, and it’s name is the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake. It usually comes out in spring in marshy areas. This snake is very rare. It’s afraid of humans, but it will attack like every wild animal. It’s only found in the lower peninsula of Michigan and not in the upper peninsula. The rest of the snake species in Michigan are not poisonous and are mostly harmless. -Tim Healey and Sam Noonan