The Potomac Highlands Watershed School 

SCE Forum Projects 2008 - Buffalo Gap HS, VA

The Problem

Beverly Manor Elementary School had an erosion problem beside the walkway that leads down to the playground.  It is an eyesore, and a maintenance headache for the school.  The sediment from this area washes onto the sidewalk and down to the basketball courts.  Eventually, it washes from there to the closest stream.

Challenge to Buffalo Gap H.S. students

Fix the problem in a way that eliminates this site as a source of erosion and also is acceptable to the Principal and, more importantly, the maintenance staff at Beverly Manor. 

Working with Sandy Greene (VA Headwaters Soil and Water Conservation District) and Paul DeMarsh (Storm Water Compliance Specialist, DCR - Division of Soil and Water Conservation), we decided to create a raised bed terrace stabilized with landscaping timbers, mulch, and shrubbery to fix the biggest cause of the problem at the head of the stairs.

*UPDATE (2/24/2009): Sandy Greene reports that: "Just reporting in that I stopped by Bmanor Elementary last week and looked at the structures.  They are holding up well, and plantings look good. "


The project was completed on May 28, 2008.   The students had two hours to get the work done, digging trenches and holes in just about the hardest ground imaginable, sawing and drilling landscaping timbers, pounding rebar through the timbers into the unyielding ground.  And, working together, they got it done, leaving a bit of mulching for the kids in the afterschool program to finish. 

Sandy Greene dropped by at the end of the day to pick up the tools she provided, and later sent this note: "(I) was led out to the site by the afterschool kids who were so proud!  The principal was beaming, too.  Thank you so much for demonstrating such wonderful stewardship, citizenship, skill (not to mention elbow grease!)." 

Many thanks to everyone who made this project possible, including Buffalo Gap High School teacher Rosalea Riley, Beverly Manor Elementary School Principal Dawn Young, Sandy Greene (HSWCD), Paul DeMarsh (VA DCR), and funders Virginia Environmental Endowment and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

The project was featured in the print edition of the Daily News Leader (Staunton, VA) on May 29; the article and a photo gallery can be seen on the web here.

Here are a few pictures.