Ortonville family receives grant to fight invasive plant

What started out as a way for an Otronville senior get community service turned out to be a grant to help eradicate an invasive species of vine.


Hannah Allgaier, 17, a senior at Brandon High School, is gearing up to go to college next fall. But she realized she didn’t have much in the way of community service — a key factor in acceptance decisions at most colleges.

So she and dad Alan Allgaier, 46, of Ortonville spent more than 40 hours over the past several months traipsing through the woods, using a handheld GPS to map the location of the invasive swallow-wort in Independence Oaks County Park.

Swallow-wort, a vine that chokes out native plants, also has been found in Highland Oaks and Rose Oaks county parks.

Their work helped the county land a portion of $100,000 in federal funds to eradicate invasive species. Brittany Bird, natural resources planner for the county, said the money will be used this fall to help purchase herbicide to kill the swallow-wort. The Allgaiers’ work made it easy to apply for the grant funds because county officials had at their fingertips a map of the problem areas, she said.

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