The Old Court Middle School Bay Stewards Program began in 2014 from a partial grant provided by BG&E. The program fosters a partnership between UME and Old Court middle school with a goal to teach students how their environment is impacted by our actions and how to be environmental stewards. The Saturday program encourages youth to learn more about their environment and how they can make a positive impact. During the past two years that the program has been implemented, students have built a native plant garden on school grounds, as well as planted several trees.
Recently on February 20, 2016 students painted rain barrels and learned how it can positively impact the environment by helping to conserve water during the summer months. Students learned that rain barrels can be used to store water during rainfalls. The collected water can be used to water plants during the summer months thus allowing people to conserve more water. The themes for the rain barrels focused on nature and under sea creatures. During the Saturday programs they learned that impervious surfaces like concrete pavement causes water quality degradation while pervious surfaces like soil helps to reduce pollution and replenish ground water. The students were able complete their rain barrel decorations with a variety of under sea creatures (mostly fictional) and plants found in nature.
In addition, students recently went to Gwynn Oak Park on April 9th where they picked up over 300 pounds of trash! Led by Krisztian Varsa and Dwayne Murphy from Baltimore County Extension, the students braved rain and snow on a cold Saturday morning to collect car tires, glass bottles, and Styrofoam from the banks of the Gwynns Falls. The students’ effort will keep over 300 pounds of trash from entering the Baltimore Harbor and Chesapeake Bay. Aiding the students were Old Court Middle School teachers Pamela Bass and Rosalie White.
By: Bidemi Oladiran (AmeriCorps VISTA) & Krisztian Varsa (Watershed Restoration Specialist)
Pictures contributed by Daniel Pendick