Students Branching Out is a Howard County project to involve students in local tree planting projects. The most recent site was at Glenwood Middle School. This was a new twist on the project because it was the first time that we planted trees on school grounds. That made involving the students easier, since all we had to do was walk across the school fields to get there.
Despite some weird weather we had in December – freezing cold and snowy, then warm and the ground too squishy to deliver the trees – we were able to get 3 classes of students from Glenwood Middle to work around their jam-packed school schedules to plant trees with us on December 20th. That was the very last day before winter break.
Teacher Kelly Storr was amazing in her enthusiasm and flexibility when we had to postpone a couple of times. On the planting day, half of the time was spent discussing and learning about the project and the other half planting. The students asked some great questions and had a blast planting the trees and getting muddy.
Here is some more background on the project:
- This project in particular encouraged us to work across agencies. The Glenwood planting involved the Howard County Schools grounds department, the teachers and principal, as well as the Howard County Bureau of Environmental Services, Recreation and Parks’ Natural Resources Division, and the Office of Environmental Sustainability.
- We planted 1450 trees on 7.5 acres. Most were planted by private contractors. Local businesses KCI Technologies and Holmes Landscaping were hired, promoting local business and jobs.
- All the trees planted were native species – pin oak, white oak, serviceberry, sugar maple and black gum.
- The trees and contractor support were funded by Governor O’Malley’s Stream Challenge grant program.
- Converting this area from grass to trees will reduce the time, energy, and money spent on mowing and provide habitat.
We’re planning on going back again in the spring to work with the students and give them a chance to use these trees as a learning resource. We hope that it will continue to be a part of their learning each year.