Spring Mills Middle School
Tree Planting and other Best Management Practices (BMPs)
At Spring Mills Middle School, 22 kids
from the Science Club and their science teacher, Michelle Adams,
planted 12 large ball and burlap trees, and planted a 1000 square
foot area with wildflower seeds through Cacapon Institute’s Potomac
Headwaters Leaders of Watersheds program.
Back to Projects Page.
First, Cacapon Institute strengthened the
students’ knowledge base using eSchool activities from the
Potomac Highlands Watershed School. Then, Outreach
Coordinator Ben Alexandro taught them why trees and other
plants are so important to the watershed. Using a bin of
bare soil and another covered in grass, watering cans and
several stopwatches, the students set up experiments
educating themselves about erosion and stormwater runoff.
They rolled balls down the hill to simulate runoff and to
define the watershed area for the rain garden they would
plant. Throughout the spring, the club learned about native
trees and tree identification, and discovered benefits that
trees and native plants provide. They completed hands-on
learning activities and completed an assessment of the
The Science Club focused on advertising
and PR for the events. The students made lists of what
materials were needed and where they were to be put. They
created flyers to be taken home calling for volunteers,
materials, and supplies. The student leaders also made
posters to be hung around the school.
On April 26th, six flowering
dogwoods, three eastern redbuds, and two oak trees were
planted, mulched, staked, and protected from deer rub along
the north side of the parking lot. One tulip poplar tree
was planted on the southeast corner of the field.
Cam Trowbridge from Opequan Creek Project
Team came out to volunteer along with a number of parents.
Cam helped lead the tree planting portion. Stakes were
hammered in by hand then driven in further with a tamping
bar. Trees were then secured with professional arbor ties.
Michelle Adams said that the principal loved the trees and
boasted that it already improved the aesthetics of the
school. The principal even came out and identified exactly
where he wanted one of the trees planted.
Students also identified the area between
the parking lot and the sidewalk as a pollution hotspot. It
is currently bare soil slowly eroding and becoming
sediment. The students scattered four bags of wildflower
seeds along the 200 foot long bare ground area and covered
it with a bale of hay.
While CI and the Science Club were
working on the rain garden (link), seeding wildflowers, and
the tree planting, another teacher was leading another group
of students to plant flowers in front of the school, pick up
trash, and beautify the area.
Despite the fact that the trees were
planted in surprisingly hard clay, everyone had a great
time, all the projects were completed, and the school looked
great. The teachers agreed to water the plants in the coming
days, weeks, and over the summer months. Spring Mills
Middle school is excited to continue planning and
implementing projects with Cacapon Institute in the future.