The Potomac Highlands Watershed School 

PHWS Projects 2012

Hancock Junior Senior High School, MD

Hancock Tree Planting

April 2012

Hancock Junior Senior High School is working to become a Maryland Green School.  As a member of the Chesapeake Bay Program Education Work Group, Cacapon Institute supports the Green Schools initiative of the Maryland Association for Environmental & Outdoor Education.

MWEE – Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences – should be a part of every Green School’s program.  Tree plantings, like Hancock’s, are terrestrial watershed conservation projects.  All trees, even those miles from streams, have a positive impact on watershed health.

Students used CI’s Potomac Highlands Watershed School to learn about watershed conservation.  They watched “What is a Watershed” and “Sedimentation Blues” before having a competition to see who could get the best score on "Stream Cleaner" (click on the Chalk Board in the classroom to see how well you can do).  After learning about watersheds the students surveyed their school grounds looking for sites that could potentially be improved to reduce the impact of stormwater runoff pollution.  You can see their Google Map survey results here.  The water from the school goes into the Little Tonoloway Creek a tributary of the Potomac River.  They found locations on the school where erosion was evident.  Erosion eventually leads to sediment pollution, a major problem for local waters and the Chesapeake Bay. 

Some of the eroded areas they found were on a hill out back.  They also notice the hill has no trees at all.  They decided this would be the best location for their first tree planting.  Not only will the trees intercept rain water, they will eventually create shade for the spectators watching sporting events.  The students plan to earn Student Service Learning credits watering the trees all summer.  They are already making plans to plant more trees, maybe even build a rain garden, next school year.

This project was supported by a grant to Cacapon Institute from NOAA-Bay Watershed Education and Training. 

This hill could really use some trees!

Hard work digging holes in this rocky ground. 

Teamwork gets the job done. 

Use your hands!  Rakes are for sissies.

Hold that tree steady.

A tree will help fix this erosion problem.

Someday the trees these students planted will grow to become the giant trees like the stately oak that beautifies and shades the school today.