I work for a non-profit that employs teen youths during the summer months, much of the employment being youth corps where teens remove "noxious weeds" from many acres of land in the Boulder, CO area. Any suggestions about how we can think outside the box in this program and educate young people about alternative methods?
I think it would be interesting to lead them in an exploration of why the species you're working with might be where they are - what happened in the area(s) you're working in over the last 5, 10, 50, or 100 years? Perhaps they could take some time to observe all of their parts - roots, vegetation, flowers, and seeds, and think about what other creatures/processes are making use of their characteristics. It would be interesting to research whether the species you're working with are edible or medicinal, and have potential market values for any of their parts. Then, make a plan to figure out how you/they can work to change the niche that the species are filling (by improving soil organic matter, providing more shade, etc.) to make sure that the area isn't reinvaded. It would be great to figure out ways to entice their continued interaction with the spaces, so they have some sort of stewardship responsibility/accountability for the areas where they are working.
I'd love to hear what species you're working with to give more specific ideas! I recently met Rella Abernathy at a Beyond Pesticides conference...she works as the City of Boulder's IPM manager, and may be interested in helping put something together along these lines.