Amelia Buckmaster, 16, of Rochester Hills, recently completed a Girl Scout Award Project at the South Higgins Lake State Park. The project, to install a riparian buffer using native plants, was undertaken and completed on Oct. 1.
Buckmaster, a junior at Adams High School in Rochester Hills, enlisted the help of six of her classmates and 13 other volunteers to complete the project, which was funded by the Higgins Lake Foundation.
The 648-square-foot planting along the park’s shoreline was chosen due to the desire to protect the remaining trees in the area and to bring attention to this method of stabilizing shoreline, reducing runoff and filtering out contaminants.
Types of plants used in the installation included New England aster, sand coreopsis, bearded foxglove, horsemint, wild bergemot, pale coneflower, hoary vervain, western sunflower, showy goldenrod and smooth aster.
The 648 Michigan native plants used in the buffer were purchased through the Otsego Conservation District. Plants were specifically chosen for their ability to grow in the soil type along the shoreline as well as their tolerance to sun exposure and their general hardiness.
Buckmaster’s mother, Catherine Buckmaster, said her daughter undertook the project because “Amelia is passionate about the South Higgins Lake State Park and the lake that she has enjoyed for so many summers. She is hoping that the project sparks interest of lakeside property homeowners and teens working on community service projects.”
She noted that a riparian buffer can prevent erosion and improve water quality in the lake due to the long-rooted plants used.