All of our students learn about water pollution sources and prevention in their curriculum. The 3 and 4 year olds discuss the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and build a model out of play dough, add different forms of pollution, and have a “rainstorm” to wash it into the bay. This lesson on runoff pollution prevention is tied to our daily practices of reducing, reusing, and recycling, as well as litter prevention. Our teachers created a Runoff Model for use by our own staff.
Water conservation is practiced in our school by staff and parent volunteers. Our students are also monitored during their hand washing at all times during the day to ensure that water conservation practices are learned by the students.
Our 520 sq. ft. rain gardens and erosion control measures were implemented with water pollution prevention in mind. The gardens are labeled as rain gardens because of the naturally moist soil, resulting from a shady environment, sandy soil, and abundant downspout drainage in the direct area. In 2010 we installed 4 rain barrels, one at each of these down spouts, to provide environmental benefits, reduce erosion and flooding at each location, and capture rain water for future garden watering, thus improving the health of the garden and conserving water. Through 2019 we continue to maintain and utilize the rain gardens and rain barrels. Our students use our rain barrels to water the gardens and for outdoor water play.
We practice regular mulching of our gardens to prevent erosion and to build up organic material for future plant health. We also add woodchips to our Outdoor Classroom and pathways several times per year to prevent erosion. To create an erosion-free path from the parking lot to our Outdoor Classroom and front entryway, we rebuilt our fence and gate to circumvent a sloping, eroding area and incorporate a wooden walkway and mulched footpath. We continue to woodchip that path and plant grass seed around it to prevent erosion. We also woodchip around our playground equipment and our schoolyard trees to prevent erosion and root exposure. We consulted with a Master Gardener for advice on managing a floodplain area at the bottom of the forest trail system.