Five local schools announce how they’ll use recent S.E.A. grants

Mon, 04/10/2023 - 3:45pm

The hunt is on for invasive plants, macro invertebrates and local weather statistics thanks to five new grants recently awarded by the Stewardship Education Alliance. This spring students from The Riley School, Camden-Rockport Middle School and Seaside Village Pre-school will be searching for invasive plants on their campuses, digging them out, and planting native species.

At Camden-Rockport Middle School, Mrs. Owens Environmental Club student members and parent volunteers will get out their trowels and search for invasive plants that are crowding out our native plants. They hope to purchase planters made at Five Hills High School from recycled materials to show off the diversity and beauty of native plants. This project dovetails well with the effort underway to create a Learning Landscape at the school with Coastal Mountains Land Trust and Knox-Lincoln Country Soil and Water Conservation District.

Seaside Village Pre-school also located along the Megunticook River will construct a light table and two large-sized water tables for studying plants and small creatures that live in and along the river. The also hope to buy rain gaiters for teachers and students to make it possible for them to explore at the edges of the river itself. Students and teachers will create a database and wall chart about the invasive plants and native plants they find.

At the Riley School, students will explore the ecosystem of their 24-acre campus that includes meadows, a pond and stream, as well a cove along the shore. The school is developing a Gardens and Greenhouse program where students will raise food for campus ducks and geese, and native plants for pollinators, and children to enjoy. Teachers look forward to working with Merryspring Nature Center as they develop plans that will develop students’ analytical skills and foster wonder and a sense of stewardship for the natural world.

Children’s House Montessori School will use its grant to purchase a kick net for collecting macro invertebrates and a freshwater quality test kit along with books, cards, and other materials to help children investigate the creatures that live in a stream that flows into the ocean at their satellite campus. The class will participate in a Citizen Science instate called Stream Explorers offered by Maine Audubon.

Students at Watershed have for a long time been studying the effects of climate change on our local watersheds. With the grant from S.E.A. The Climate Action and Leadership Lab (CALL) a new initiative now in its second year, will be acquire an advanced weather monitoring station to aid in this work. Students will make a presentation to the Camden Select Board to raise awareness of the challenges we face in the local watershed for climate change, and will hold a public forum at the Camden Library to present their findings and final report.