The Alliance, with our Chesapeake Conservation Corps Volunteer, Heather Jentilet, recently completed three riparian buffer plantings in Baltimore City with Baltimore City School students under the MD DNR Governor O’Malley Stream Restoration Challenge Grant. In partnership with Blue Water BaltimoreBaltimore City Recreation & Parks and TreeBaltimore, the project resulted in over 600 students from 3 Baltimore City Schools planting over 450 trees on nearly 5 acres of land.[imageframe link=” 18″ ] Gabe Cohee of MD DNR demonstrates proper tree planting to a student.As a Chesapeake Conservation Corps volunteer, Heather is required to complete what is called a Capstone Project. This means she plans and implements a project of her own, with the assistance and expertise of the Alliance as needed. Heather took on these tree plantings as her capstone project, and has worked on all aspects of this project from co-writing the grant proposal to attending the plantings.[imageframe link=” 18″ ]

Roland Park Middle School students planting a redbud

However, the part of this project she is most proud of is the Environmental Education curriculum, created in collaboration with fellow Chesapeake Conservation Corps Volunteer, Lisa DeGuire, stationed at Blue Water Baltimore. The two created their own curriculum on the importance of trees and riparian buffers, and worked with Living Classrooms to meet Environmental Literacy Standards. Lisa and Heather then went into the classroom before the tree plantings to get the students thinking about the impact trees have on the environment, as well as the impact the students have on the environment.

Friendship Charter Public School, with students ranging from 4th grade to 8th grade. Students shared a lot of knowledge about trees and showed enthusiasm for getting outside and planting. Through a series of pre-planting and post-planting surveys, done as part of the Environment Education curriculum, Heather is compiling data to measure the increase in awareness about environmental issues in the students who participated. The survey will also determine how the tree planting affected their desire to volunteer for other environmental projects.

Roland Park Middle School students digging a hole for a tree.