Leeds and Rising Sun Middle join Bainbridge, Bay View and Conowingo elementary schools as Cecil County green schools.
“It was a great process,” said Lori Pitcock, a fifth grade teacher at Leeds who heads the school’s green team. “It was extremely exciting to see the kids motivated to help the environment.”
Leeds embarked on the green school process because it was looking for ways to better help the environment as well as teach students about the solar panels that were installed at the school last year, Pitcock said.
In addition to the solar panels, the school has worked on a number of other green projects including starting a single-stream recycling program, putting up signs and raising awareness about water conservation, recycling dried out markers and using reusable water bottles, Pitcock said.
The school also collected plastic water bottles and
Community members work on the Rising Sun Middle School bio-retention garden on Saturday.
planted peas and other vegetables in them. These plants were later moved outside to start a vegetable garden, Pitcock said.
Going forward, the school is continuing to find other ways to incorporate environmental science into its curriculum and has brought in local organizations, including the U.S. Army’s Edge-
wood Chemical Biological Center and Orbital ATK, to talk to students about the environment, Pitcock said.
Rising Sun Middle has also incorporated environmental issues into its curriculum since first becoming a green school back in 2012 and has worked on other projects including starting a recycling program, doing an
energy audit, sprucing up the school’s flower beds and tagging butterflies at Woodlawn Preserve.
But just a few hours after receiving its Green School renewal certification on Friday, green team leaders Amy Hash and Anne Polakovic gathered their team together to break ground on their biggest project yet: a bio-retention garden in the school’s courtyard.
The garden will be constructed at the lowest point in the courtyard, an area that frequently floods, with the water sometimes seeping into the school’s breezeway, Hash said. The garden is being funded through a $5,000 grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust and will eventual- ly be filled with native plants and also include a mulched seating area for outdoor learning, she added.
Students on the Rising Sun Middle team were involved with a lot of the planning for the garden, even conducting a teacher survey to figure out the best place to put the garden.
On Friday, many of those students were on hand to break ground and on Saturday and Sunday they were joined by community members from a local Boy Scout troop, West Nottingham Academy, Conowingo Baptist Church and other local organizations, Hash said.
Overall, 62 people worked on the rain garden over three days and more volunteers will be working this Friday and Saturday. Next week, sixth grade science students will help put plants in the garden, Hash said.
The two teachers hope to have the garden completely done by the end of the school year so students can see the result of their efforts.
“It’s been awesome,” Hash said. “I’m really impressed with the number of people in the community who wanted to help.”
Rising Sun Middle School students pose with their green schools recertification plaque.