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Little Black girl who was reported to police for spraying trees is honored by Yale

Harley Young

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| Last updated 

Little Black girl who was reported to police for spraying trees is honored by Yale

Featured Image Credit: Yale / Caldwell Police

Yale University has honored a little black girl who was reported to police for spraying trees with a repellent formula.

Nine-year-old Bobbi Wilson had the police called on her following her attempt at keeping an invasive type of bug from damaging local trees.

Bobbi was trying to protect the tree from spotted lanternflies, a highly invasive bug that sucks sap from trees and causes them to rot away.

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Bobbi Wilson with her personal collection of spotted lanternflies. Credit: Andrew Hurley/ Yale
Bobbi Wilson with her personal collection of spotted lanternflies. Credit: Andrew Hurley/ Yale

A neighbor had called the police on the little girl, but her mom says this exposes a deeper problem.

However, the Yale School of Public Health has recognised Bobbi for her fantastic preservatory efforts and held a ceremony to celebrate Bobbi's selflessness on 20 January, according to a news release shared by the university.

Bobbi also donated her own personal collection of spotted lanternfly to Yale's Peabody museum, which they also recognized at the ceremony.

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“Yale doesn’t normally do anything like this … this is something unique to Bobbi,” explained organiser of the event, Yale School of Public Health Assistant Professor, Dr Ijeoma Opara.

“We wanted to show her bravery and how inspiring she is, and we just want to make sure she continues to feel honored and loved by the Yale community.”

Bobbi was trying to protect the tree from spotted lanternflies. Credit: Amy Lee / Alamy Stock Photo
Bobbi was trying to protect the tree from spotted lanternflies. Credit: Amy Lee / Alamy Stock Photo

Back in October, Bobbi was trialing a homemade insect repellent formula that she had created to spray spotted lanternflies near her home in Caldwell, New Jersey.

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Agricultural departments across the US have encouraged Americans to rid their neighborhoods of these invasive insects when they see them as they pose a threat to native trees and plants

However, Bobbi's mission to rid her neighborhood of the damaging bugs was cut short when someone called the police with the report that there was 'a little Black woman walking, spraying stuff on the sidewalks and trees on Elizabeth and Florence'.

Bobbi's mother, Monique Joseph told CNN the stress and confusion the incident had caused for her daughter.

The incident has since drawn attention to the 'adultification' of young black girls, who are treated more harshly by police than that of young white girls according to experts.

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Bobbi had previously visited Yale prior to the ceremony the university hosted for her. Credit: Andrew Hurley/ Yale
Bobbi had previously visited Yale prior to the ceremony the university hosted for her. Credit: Andrew Hurley/ Yale

The ceremony was the second time Bobbi had visited Yale University, with the first time being when she was invited on a tour of the university by Opara following the police incident.

Bobbi's mom praised Opara at the ceremony, saying: “Dr. Opara, you have been a blessing.

“You are part of our testimonial and what it means to have a community of amazing, beautiful, Black, intelligent scientists and doctors, and more important than that is your heart and your passion for the work that you do."

Topics: News

Harley Young
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