Provided by Prince William County Schools (PWCS)
When you have a big job to do, you get many hands involved to make the work easier; that’s why Kerrydale Elementary School and PWCS Environmental Services collaborated to plant 900 trees of many varieties on school grounds. Students and staff enthusiastically offered to help dig holes, pile in dirt, and hammer support stakes into the ground for one of the largest reforestation projects the School Division has undertaken.
By all accounts, students had quite an exciting story to relate to parents at the end of the day. While the activity may have seemed like play, students were helping to protect the Chesapeake Bay watershed by stopping soil erosion that could harm a nearby creek. Additional advantages of the project, which encompasses just over two acres, include the creation of an outdoor classroom and a butterfly garden.
The trees and outdoor classroom will allow the students to connect Science Standards of Learning requirements to hands-on practical experience with nature, such as learning about the life cycle of plants in a powerful and authentic way, describing seasonal changes, comparing young plants with mature plants, and predicting what would occur if a tree does not have what it needs to survive.
“Students will be able to problem-solve, create, and collaborate together during science investigations that foster the skills needed for 21st century students,” said Administrative Intern Anna Houseworth.
“The Kerrydale Elementary site has an area that is unusable because of its hilly terrain. By planting trees in that space, we also reduce the cost of maintenance,” said John Windley, Director of Facilities Services.
Drew Uglow, project manager in Environmental Services, praised Principal Kim Gudinas and Assistant Principal Angela Naggles for getting community and school support for the project.
“PWCS Facilities Services is committed to improving the environment on school properties and involving the community as much as possible,” said Uglow.