ShoreRivers and St. Michaels Students Complete Environmental Action Project

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Working with ShoreRivers’ environmental education program, Students for Streams, St. Michaels Middle High School biology students have successfully completed an environmental action project that improves both their school campus and local water quality. They investigated local water quality in the Miles River, assessed nearby land use, and identified both positive and negative environmental factors on their school property. During their assessment of the grounds, students focused on an eroding storm drain behind the elementary school, noting how sediment entering the drain negatively impacted water clarity in the nearby river. Students proposed correcting the erosion by stabilizing the slope leading to the drain and planting native species in the drainage area.

Students sitting next to the finished drain project with Miles-Wye Riverkeeper Elle Bassett (left side front row in hat).

After presenting their ideas to both ShoreRivers and Talbot County Public Works, students successfully created an implementation plan. Talbot County donated time and equipment, and students implemented the plan on April 24. Chesapeake Bay Trust funded the project.

On May 2, Students had the opportunity to share the success of their program at the Howard County Conservancy’s Environmental Summit in Annapolis, where they presented their work, data they collected in partnership with ShoreRivers, and final project outcomes. Elected officials and schools from across Maryland attended. Delegate Johnny Mautz was impressed with the students’ work done in his district, and noted that it was a “great project.”

Miles-Wye Riverkeeper Elle Bassett has been working with these students since the beginning of the school year. “This student action project is a success not only for improving water quality, but also for engaging students, instilling in them a sense of ownership of their environment and a better understanding of environmental best practices. This hands-on environmental education is an example to students of how their actions can have a real-life impact.”

Pictured L-R: Ashley Henckel, Jane Whitelock (teacher), Delegate Johnny Mautz, Eddie Robinson, Winfield Devaric, Lexie Jordan, Nathan Simpkins, Isaiah Holliday

Teacher Jane Whitelock described the experience. “As a classroom teacher, I am grateful to our community partners for making this project possible. Their support allowed the students to be empowered to take on a project of this magnitude and discover that they could indeed make a difference in their community. I can’t express how proud I am of the hard work our students put into making the storm drain restoration project a success.”

ShoreRivers will work with Talbot County, Dorchester County, and Queen Anne’s County Public Schools in the coming school year to continue implementing environmental education programming that highlights stewardship practices. For more information on Students for Streams, please contact Elle Bassett at 443.385.0511 or ebassett@shorerivers.org.

ShoreRivers protects and restores Eastern Shore waterways through science-based advocacy, restoration, and education. We work collaboratively with our community yet maintain an uncompromising and independent voice for clean rivers and the living resources they support.

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