Carlin Springs ES: Bog Expansion and Composting

November 9th, 2012

The bog is happy and healthy — and providing an oasis for the turtles! Students dig up more turf grass so that we can expand the area of our created wetland.

Carlin grub! Learning respect for all living organisms and debunking the myths that cause all those squeamish squeals associated with crawly critters — is at the heart of what we do!

Students planting woodland sedge around the hibernaculum

Learning about the magnificent marvels of the decomposing world through a primer on vermicomposting! Students harvest red wiggler worms from an older composting bin and create a new, roomier home for them. The richly fertile worm castings will provide new life and nutrients for our gardens.

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Carlin Springs ES: Creating a Turtle Hibernaculum (Part 2)

November 2, 2012

Students amend the existing soil with rich, composted leaf mulch.

Students haul amended soil over to the hibernaculum area.

Rich soil is piled over hollowed logs so that there are numerous cavities for the turtles to easily dig themselves safely into the earth for the coming winter.

Ready for burrowing!

While we’re at it — a brush pile to provide shelter for birds and habitat for invertebrates.

Teamwork! An old log becomes a makeshift turtle ladder.

Swamp milkweed in the bog goes to seed.

Wind dispersal — students help to spread milkweed seeds.

Creating a Bog at Daniels Run ES

On October 5th, 2012

Our bog creation project at Daniels Run Elementary School was funded by a watershed grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The site was a problem area adjacent to a playground with a compacted clay foundation. After a rain event, water collected here and stood for numerous days. Lands and Waters and Daniels Run decided this was an excellent opportunity to create a bog-type wetland using stormwater runoff, turning a problematic area into an ecosystem that students can study.

Our first step was to create a berm that would deflect the water from the foundation of the nearby trailer.

Building blocks: our hardworking team member Phillip uses precast concrete blocks and re-purposes them to create a wall.

Phillip them creates a gentle slop away from the wall with the existing clay that was in the area.

DR Bog

The students of Daniels Run, eager to lend a hand, skirted recess time to help us compact the clay slope.

Students help us move soil

Here we see the bog at work after a rain event! The berm is effectively draining water more quickly than before. Phase one is completed.

Next, we must evcavate out in a basin shaped pool, place in exploratory structures to encourage student engagement (while protecting protecting flora and fauna), amend excavated clay by mixing it with composted leaf mulch, and create a ponding area of no more than 4 inches. Finally, we will plant with native riparian herbaceous plants — our favorites are swamp milkweed, cardinal flower, turtlehead, joe pyeweed, and great blue lobelia. Whew, there is still much to do! But we’re off to a wonderful start.