Students, educators and community leaders were among the participants to help celebrate two incredible schoolyard habitat projects in the Waldorf MD area. By creating these wetland habitats students are helping to improve the water quality in the watershed.
Thirteen thousand herbaceous wetland and upland plants were planted at Arthur Middleton Elementary School by more than 700 students and 16,000 wetland plants were planted at Dr. Gustavus Brown Elementary School by more than 700 students, creating two wetland habitats on their schoolyards.
Lyle Laverty, Department of Interior, Assistant Secretary - Fish, Wildlife and Parks spoke at the event recognizing the need to connect children with nature and applauding the innovative way that these schoolyard wetlands are already being used by teachers to help children explore and understand the natural community.
After ribbon-cutting ceremonies and tours of the wetlands, participants were invited to join the schoolchildren in a variety of activities including wildlife scavenger hunts, fish printing, and raptor demonstration. The crown jewel of the event was the day-long fishing derby where students from grades 1-4 caught fish (some for the first time in their lives) from their schoolyard wetland.
Partners included: A. Morton Thomas and Associates, Inc.; Charles County Master Gardeners; Charles County Public Schools staff and students; Chesapeake Bay Trust; Eco-Board, Inc.; Environmental Concern, Inc.; Environmental Quality Resources, LLC; Greenhorne and O'Mara, Inc.; KCI Technologies, Inc.; Maryland Department of Natural Resources; Maryland Department of the Environment; Nanjemoy Creek Environmental Education Center; National Association of Counties; National Fish and Wildlife Foundation; parents and friends of Arthur Middleton Elementary School and Dr. Gustavus Brown Elementary School; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; University of Maryland Cooperative Extension; and Wicomico Scenic River Commission