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Submitted By

Sandra Bennett

Culpeper, VA, United States


We have a small stream on the school grounds that has become almost invisible due to some invasive plant species. It has also become a bit of a trashy mess. We would like our ecology class along with the agriculture class to clean it out, get rid of the invasive plants and replant native species along about a 1/2 mile length of the stream. The plan includes having the students build appropriate bird houses and placing them in the area. We would also like to plant some orchard trees in a nearby plot to add food and shelter for our birds.


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Reclaim the stream

Culpeper County High school is a rural school in northern Virginia in a county of horse farms, timbering, and dairy and cattle farms... we even have a couple of Bison ranches. Our students appreciate the natural beauty of the area including the many streams and lakes nearby.

We have a stream at our school... sort of. It runs through the school grounds and has become overgrown with some invasive and non-native plants over the years. Our biology classes, chemistry classes, earth science and ecology classes have talked about doing "something" for a while. The time is now to get that something done. Along with the agriculture department and the science department we have teamed up and come up with a plan of action. We want to remove the trash (both human and what's growing there that shouldn't) and transform this mucked up area into one that can be a place where birds, small animals and people can enjoy. The water is not polluted (we have already done some testing) so it is safe for our students to work there. We want to start with about a 1/2 mile length of the stream, cleaning it up, removing non-native plants where possible, replanting with native species and building and putting up bird houses. The adjacent property has an open field that we would like to use as a small orchard... permission already obtained by the Agriculture Dept. which would provide additional food and shelter (and birdhouse locations) for our resident native birds and those that migrate through on the Atlantic Flyway. We have plan for our ecology club to become the stream habitat caretakers to avoid future issues by doing stream studies and routing trash collection for what washes into our area.
We would use the money from the grant to pay for needed equipment such as waders, construction materials, and some planting supplies and perhaps some plants. We plan to coordinate with the Environmental Department here to get some of the native plants as well as technical advice. Any money you send us would be put to good use. This activity will include more than 100 students and about 10 teachers.

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