The Potomac Highlands Watershed School 

PHWS Projects 2013

Petersburg Elementary School, WV

Back to Projects Page.  

Petersburg Elementary School- Petersburg, WV

April, 2013

CIís Outreach Coordinator, Molly Barkman, visited the school to provide educational lessons to the 5th grade. Students learned about non-point source pollution- sedimentation and nutrients- and the effects they have on a streams ecosystem. 

Students learned that best management practices, such as the rain garden installed at their school, will help water infiltrate into the ground recharging the ground water system. This will allow the wells at their house to continue providing water for their families. The rain garden will also help to decrease stormwater runoff pollution that transports sediments and nutrients into the stream.

Students worked to increase their math skills by creating a scale drawling of the courtyard area. They were given the freedom to use their imagination in creating an outdoor learning space. Many students wanted to grow vegetables and fruits.

Students used the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Serviceís Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping: Chesapeake Bay Watershed to make plant selections based on the available, sunlight, and blooming period of the plants.

 
The 5th grade class at Petersburg Elementary School designed and installed a 300 square foot rain garden on the school grounds. Lead Teacher, Julie Colaw, had the idea to convert a not highly used outdoor corridor into an outdoor classroom to be used by the entire school. The outdoor space was created when an addition to the school was added. The corridor is a grassy space next to the gym and playground. A plan was drawn up and approved by the school board.

CIís Outreach Coordinator, Molly Barkman, visited the school to provide educational lessons to the 5th grade. Students learned about non-point source pollution- sedimentation and nutrients- and the effects they have on a streams ecosystem. 

Students learned that best management practices, such as the rain garden installed at their school, will help water infiltrate into the ground recharging the ground water system. This will allow the wells at their house to continue providing water for their families. The rain garden will also help to decrease stormwater runoff pollution that transports sediments and nutrients into the stream.

Students worked to increase their math skills by creating a scale drawling of the courtyard area. They were given the freedom to use their imagination in creating an outdoor learning space. Many students wanted to grow vegetables and fruits.

Students used the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Serviceís Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping: Chesapeake Bay Watershed to make plant selections based on the available, sunlight, and blooming period of the plants.

Excavation took place on April 1st. A backhoe was used to create a 2 foot trench where a perforated pipe was laid with gravel and protective mesh to keep soil out of the pipe. This pipe will help to transport water throughout the garden. The pipe was attached at a T to allow a section of the pipe to be seen above ground inside of the garden. This white pipe was later decorated to be a bird bath.
The pipe allows students to be able to remove the birdbath to see the level of water that is under the ground. This helps the students to see the water that is infiltrating the ground. The rain garden is capturing stormwater runoff pollution from the school roof. Sand was tilled in with the soil to allow for greater infiltration. On April 3 students worked actively to plant 184 native plants and mulch the rain garden. Planting day started with the first class of students having an informative how-to by Executive Director, Frank Rodgers, and the students worked to level the rain garden.
They then were each able to plant the plants in the correct location according to the planting map. The 2nd and 3rd classes worked to plant their section of the rain garden.( Each class had an interactive planting demo where they were taught the proper way to plant their plant to make sure that it had the best chance of survival.
The 4th class period planted the remaining plants and mulched the rain garden. At the end of the work day students were proud of all of the hard work that had completed.
The students continued to monitor the rain garden over the remaining months of school. Outreach Coordinator, Molly Barkman, returned to the school in May to conduct a wrap up lesson for the school year. The pride of the rain garden was still radiant in each of the students. They were able to see the growth of the garden over the month.

Students have taken ownership of the garden and make sure it is well cared for during recess time.

In the fall of 2013 the log bench seating and raised bed gardens will be installed completing the original plan for the outdoor classroom.