GRANTS: December, 2022 and March, 2023
THE HUNT IS ON: for invasive plants, macro invertebrates and local weather statistics!
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.
CAMDEN-ROCKPORT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
At Camden-Rockport Middle School, Environmental Club student members and parent volunteers will get out their trowels and search for invasive plants on their campus that are crowding out native plants. They hope to purchase planters made at the Hatchery 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, located along the Megunticook River near CRMS, 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 school also hopes 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.
THE RILEY SCHOOL
With a grant from S.E.A. in 2022, students at the Riley School studied green crab predation and water chemistry with Director of Education and Teacher Professional Development John Van Dis and Education Manager Kyle Amergian from Hurricane Island Center for Science and Leadership. They even got to visit Hurricane Island!
With a grant in February, 2023, 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
Kindergarten students Children’s House Montessori School will use its grant this spring to purchase a kick net for collecting macro-invertebrates and a freshwater quality test kit along with books, cards, and other materials. These materials will 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 initiative called Stream Explorers offered by Maine Audubon.
Older students with their teacher Mrs. Germaine Koomen have been learning abut birds and how to use their new binoculars provided by an S.E.A. grant in late 2022. Mrs. Koomen reports: “We spent a wonderful morning with John Fromer at Merryspring where we walked, listened and learned about the natural world around us. Students exclaimed over the beauty of the walk, the sight of animal tracks, scat, and the sounds surrounding us. We saw evidence that Spring is indeed on its way. These are the very experiences that foster a love of the environment and form our future naturalists.”
In fall, 2022, with help from S.E.A. students at Watershed School studied with teachers including Jon Van Dis from Hurricane Island Center for Science and Leadership. Watershed students have for a long time been studying the effects of climate change on Camden Harbor and the Meguncticook River. With the winter 2023 grant from S.E.A., the Climate Action and Leadership Lab (CALL) now in its second year, will 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.