Our Clean Campus Clean Creeks program teaches students about the issue of stormwater pollution, and the effects that it can have on our creeks and Russian River. In urban areas, heavy rainfall runoff can transport all kinds of harmful pollutants such as heavy metals, PCB’s, and biohazards into cement storm drains and straight into our creeks. We present Low Impact Development landscape designs as solutions to catch the runoff before going down the drain, teach them about certain plants’ ability to break down these harmful molecules, and then engage the students to select a project on their campus to reduce pollution. This program connects students with nearby nature and the issues of water quality, enhancing their understanding of human impact via the urban environment. It affords an excellent combination of academic content linked to state science standards, project-based learning via inquiry and investigation, presentation and leadership skills, and workforce development through landscape installation.
Healdsburg Junior High School:
In May 2016, we worked with about 75 Healdsburg Junior High School students from Mrs. Beard’s environmental studies and plant science classes. Together, we learned a lot about preventing stormwater pollution from entering our watershed, reviewed ecology concepts, and installed over 100 California native plants. The first day involved a classroom power point presentation and discussion with the students. On days two and three, we prepped the soil, planted and mulched. The finished product is a rain garden that will slow down and filter stormwater runoff, and provide a stunning and lasting habitat garden at the entry to the campus.
El Molino High School, Forestville:
In June 2016, it was a pleasure to be working in Forestville, with teacher Kate Oitzinger and her A.P. Environmental Studies students at El Molino High School as part of our Clean Campus Clean Creeks program. We unearthed a forgotten old drainpipe under a footpath and created a bioswale around the drain that serves an area with lots of stormwater runoff from a parking lot and agricultural areas. This new bioswale will not only greatly improve a poorly draining area on the campus, it will break down harmful pollutants, trap trash and excess nutrients, and provide habitat and food for wildlife. Thanks everyone for their hard work in dusty, hot, sunny conditions!