Planting Seeds of Progress

PotomacConserve.webSome sun, rain showers, freshly overturned ground, and seeds to plant made a perfect combination on Earth Day 2014. On April 22, sixth graders at St. John Regional Catholic School in Frederick, Maryland assisted kindergartners and first graders as they scattered rye, native wildflower and grass seeds over a quarter-acre swale on the school grounds.

By summer's end, the dirt covered with straw yielded a beautiful field of perennials and meadow grasses that absorbed excess storm water. The swale project beautified an area at the school that was constantly a soggy, wet mess. It assists the school as it strives to maintain "green school" certification, and will benefit them in the future as the area becomes a "living classroom" and is used as part of the science curriculum to help students learn to identify plants and insects within this pollinator habitat.

The swale project was made possible with a grant from The Walter W. and Catharine Prentiss Plummer Endowment Fund, established in 2010 through the Plummer's estate. The Potomac Conservancy, one of three nonprofits designated to receive grants from the Plummer Endowment Fund, works to provide conservation efforts within the Chesapeake Bay region, especially toward the Monocacy River area within Frederick County. Potomac Conservancy also uses the grants to support community education activities, and St. John Regional Catholic School was selected by Potomac Conservancy to benefit from this most recent grant.

"Potomac Conservancy has been working with St. John School since 2010 to help them green their school grounds and find ways to manage storm water," said Aimee Weldon, Senior Director of Land Conservation. "To date, we've planted more than 118 trees to increase canopy coverage and create more formal outdoor classroom space. Thanks to the Plummer Endowment Fund grant, we've now created a living classroom while improving the environment. It's very exciting!"

"St. John Regional Catholic School was notified in late April 2014 that it met the requirements to be designated as a Maryland Green School," said Paul Fer, Assistant Principal. "The canopy coverage and formalizing the swale on the school's campus were two huge components in our application and we owe this designation in large part to Potomac Conservancy and Aimee's effort to find grants to support it and coordinate the materials, supplies, and labor. In addition, our school campus is now more attractive for our students, their families, and all who visit. St. John Regional Catholic School is very grateful to everyone who had a part in making all this possible."

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