Cecil Whig - - AC­CENT -

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.

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