The Intern Challenge: The GR Interns Conquer Invasive Species Endangering Grand Rapids

GR interns
Intern Challenge group, The GR Interns, volunteering at the Blandford Nature Center. The Blandford Nature Center is a non-profit organization in Grand Rapids that offers educational and community programs to educate and empower others to embrace sustainable practices.

From building bikes to educating the next generation of energy innovators, Consumers Energy interns are leaving Michigan better than we found it.  This week, interns are focusing on a big environmental issue in their community. An Intern Challenge group in Grand Rapids, appropriately named ‘The GR Interns,’ will devote their time to removing invasive species at the Blandford Nature Center.

The GR Interns removing invasive species present at the Blandford Nature Center.

The Blandford Nature Center is a non-profit organization in Grand Rapids that offers educational and community programs to educate and empower others to embrace sustainable practices.  The GR Interns chose to work with the Blandford Nature Center after hearing about the opportunity from group member, and field safety intern, Kaitlyn Bonter. Beyond her internship with Consumers Energy, Bonter has worked closely with the center for her class at Grand Valley State University.

An invasive species is a plant or animal not native to the land and endangers the environment or wildlife in the area. The invasive species present at the Blandford Nature Center are non-native reed canary grass and buckthorn that came from neighboring communities. “The first step is to remove the invasive species then prevent this issue from reoccurring;” says Bonter. “We want to dig deeper into their environmental issues to help find a more permanent solution.”

Intern Challenge group, The GR Interns, include the following members: Kaitlyn Bonter, Sierra Bailey, Anthony Beilman, Andrew Besselsen, Thomas Knoppe, Kortney Schonhard, Alycia Thurston, Alfred Islas and Joseph Ramos. They will continue their volunteer efforts at the Blandford Nature Center this Saturday, July 25.

Follow this group’s journey and learn more about our Intern Challenge by following #CEVolunteers on Twitter.