Tree Planting 9/29/2015

Stream Restoration Grant Project Plants Orchard and Memorial Grove at Goshen Farm

On September 29, 2015 fourteen students from Broadneck and Southern High Schools gathered at Goshen Farm to plant 25 White Oak trees and 29 assorted fruit trees including 11 Persimmon trees, seven apple trees, three plum trees, three peach trees, three fig trees, one pear and one cherry tree.

How did this all come about?

In the fall of 2013, the Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS)/Advanced Studies & Programs Office was awarded a Stream Restoration Grant from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.  The grant is part of the Maryland Stream Restoration Challenge Program. This is a competitive grant program open to local governments and non-government organizations to establish 1,000 acres of stream-side forests by the end 2015.  The State and its partners made $6 million available to plant forested stream buffers with the goals of improving Bay water quality and creating opportunities for middle and high school students to engage in service-learning and environmental literacy activities. $2 million dollars was awarded through the first round of funding. The remaining $4 million was awarded to projects that began after September 2, 2013 and will plant in fall 2013, spring 2014, and/or fall 2015.

Why do students participate?

As a result of the grant, the AACPS Stream Restoration Project was offered to high school students through the Signature Magnet Program.  Through service learning, 25 student leaders from Southern and Broadneck High Schools have organized and implemented the planting of 1,000 native trees near the Magothy River, Severn River, West River and North Herring Bay watershed areas.  A primary goal of this student driven initiative has been to promote environmental leadership through community action.  At each native tree planting event the “Stream Team” enlists the help of AACPS student volunteers in grades K-12, while educating them on how trees will abate polluting runoff, increase habitat and improve the water quality in our local watershed.  Student participation is voluntary and counts toward their extracurricular service learning hours required for graduation.

What training did they receive?

As a requirement for participation in the project, team members attended an 8-day, Stream Team Leadership Academy, offered by Go Global GIS.  Instructor and company President, Mr. Rajiv Sharma, taught students how to use Arc GIS software and GPS technology to create maps incorporating data they had collected.  During the academy students also learned how to conduct water quality testing while aboard CBF (Chesapeake Bay Foundation) research vessels.  Mr. Dan Boward (DNR, Executive Secretary of Maryland Water Monitoring Council) spoke to students about future career opportunities.  The Stream Restoration Project is preparing the next generation of environmental leaders with the 21st century work force skills necessary for them to be successful in college and in their chosen career paths.

How did Goshen Farm get involved?

The Goshen Farm Preservation Society, Inc. is leased from the AACPS and was therefore eligible to have the trees provided under the grant planted at Goshen Farm.  When approach by Ms. Catan about a year ago about participating in the grant project, the Society had just decided to plant a Memorial Grove of 25 trees to honor those deceased friends of Goshen Farm who had contributed significantly to its preservation and restoration.  The Society welcomed the opportunity provided by this joint venture. When the Society was told that the project would like to plant a minimum of 50 trees, it became creative.  It asked Ms. Catan if it could have a grove of period appropriate fruit trees planted.  Ms. Catan responded, “Gee, we haven’t done fruit trees under this project. Let me see what I can do.”

In a matter of weeks and after consulting with DNR, she came back to the Society and said, “We can do it. What kind of trees would you like?”  The rest is history.

The student team that planted the trees at Goshen Farm was led by Hillary Catan, Project Manager, Stream Restoration Grant Project, with assistance from teachers Matt Bem from Broadneck High School and Amy Ellis (glasses) and Kristin Larney from Southern High School.  In addition to Goshen Farm President, Lou Biondi, Grounds Chair, Roy Benner, and Membership Chair, Becky Benner, Dean Cowherd, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Assistant State Soil Scientist and Jonathan Cowherd (Dean’s son), an Arborist with Bartlett Tree Service were on hand to provide technical assistance.

The planting was followed by several days of highly beneficial rain.  The Society hopes that members and friends will be able to be picking fruit in a few years and enjoy the peace and quiet of the Memorial Grove.