Accenture joined us again this year for a volunteer workday on their annual Give-Back day! In partnership with the City of Fairfax Department of Parks and Recreation, we began the day working at Kutner Park in Fairfax, off of Jermantown Road near Route 50. Our crew of volunteers pulled vines where there was a dense invasion of English Ivy. They then planted some native vegetation to help enhance degraded areas of the park and prevent invasive species from regaining their footing.
The Accenture volunteers then pickaxed their way through some tough compacted clay soil to prepare the area for Lanier Middle School students to plant.
The Accenture team then planted the bioretention cell with members of the Lanier EcoClub. Many of these students helped to envision the initial design for the rain garden while on their Stormwater Campus Tour with Lands and Waters. Sweetbay Magnolia and Lowbush Blueberry were two of the native plants selected for this area because of their high wildlife value.
Many thanks to the Accenture team, and James for pulling it all together!
Three years ago, Lands and Waters partnered with Lanier Middle School to create a living classroom in their turf-dominated courtyard. The objective was to create a forested area to provide habitat for organisms that would use the vernal pool ecosystem, such as amphibians and invertebrates. We wanted to create examples of ecosystems — a bog, plantings representative of upland woodland forest, a riparian area, a meadow, a vernal pool, a pollinator garden and finally a vegetable garden was added last spring by the hardworking members of the Eco-club.
The courtyard is opened to all disciplines but the Eco-club is at the heart of the maintaining and enhancing courtyard. Lanier’s Eco-club meets twice a week this year — primary activities evolve around the courtyard and the school’s recycling program.
This year projects:
Creating a circulating stream powered by solar energy and designed by Dr. Desouza’s students (Techonolgy and Engineering teacher)
Fall plantings in the vegetable garden culminating in a salad day and “Real Cost of Food” educational program about the environmental, ethical and health impacts of the global food system
Installing a small-scale indoor composting system so students can observe decomposition
Creation of a field guide to catalogue and monitor the species found at Lanier as our greening projects mature and provide better habitat to local flora and fauna
Monitoring vernal pool organisms
Raising fairy shrimp in the classroom
Eco-club students investigate the vernal pool habitat in their courtyard.
Water samples collected from the vernal pool to test for water quality parameters and macroinvertebrates.
Eco-club students use microscopes to look for macroinvertebrates and other microscopic life forms.
Teamwork! Students working together to load and haul fresh gravel for the dry-bed stream.
Students help to put in a low area that runs through the courtyard to conduct water to two internal drains.
Ms. Alam, science teacher and Eco-club leader, picks the last of the summer tomatoes before they are killed by frost.