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Students Branching Out at Glenwood MS

Stu­dents Branch­ing Out is a Howard County project to involve stu­dents in local tree plant­ing projects. The most recent site was at Glen­wood Mid­dle School. This was a new twist on the project because it was the first time that we planted trees on school grounds. That made involv­ing the stu­dents eas­ier, since all we had to do was walk across the school fields to get there.

Despite some weird weather we had in Decem­ber – freez­ing cold and snowy, then warm and the ground too squishy to deliver the trees — we were able to get 3 classes of stu­dents from Glen­wood Mid­dle to work around their jam-packed school sched­ules to plant trees with us on Decem­ber 20th. That was the very last day before win­ter break.

Teacher Kelly Storr was amaz­ing in her enthu­si­asm and flex­i­bil­ity when we had to post­pone a cou­ple of times. On the plant­ing day, half of the time was spent dis­cussing and learn­ing about the project and the other half plant­ing. The stu­dents asked some great ques­tions and had a blast plant­ing the trees and get­ting muddy.

Here is some more back­ground on the project:

  • This project in par­tic­u­lar encour­aged us to work across agen­cies. The Glen­wood plant­ing involved the Howard County Schools grounds depart­ment, the teach­ers and prin­ci­pal, as well as the Howard County Bureau of Envi­ron­men­tal Ser­vices, Recre­ation and Parks’ Nat­ural Resources Divi­sion, and the Office of Envi­ron­men­tal Sustainability.
  • We planted 1450 trees on 7.5 acres. Most were planted by pri­vate con­trac­tors. Local busi­nesses KCI Tech­nolo­gies and Holmes Land­scap­ing were hired, pro­mot­ing local busi­ness and jobs.
  • All the trees planted were native species — pin oak, white oak, ser­vice­berry, sugar maple and black gum.
  • The trees and con­trac­tor sup­port were funded by Gov­er­nor O’Malley’s Stream Chal­lenge grant program.
  • Con­vert­ing this area from grass to trees will reduce the time, energy, and money spent on mow­ing and pro­vide habitat.

We’re plan­ning on going back again in the spring to work with the stu­dents and give them a chance to use these trees as a learn­ing resource. We hope that it will con­tinue to be a part of their learn­ing each year.

Elissa Rei­neck

Decem­ber 2013

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