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Our 6th graders are giving back to the community

Our 6th graders are giving back to the community!
Posted on 06/17/2019
Stemmers Run students cleaning the park

Stemmers Run Middle Students making a difference in their own back yard

by Susan Gottschalk

 

When you think of time spent near local waterways, beauty and relaxation should come to mind – not trash and pollution. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done, but thanks to local groups like the Back River Restoration Committee, and students at Stemmers Run Middle School in Essex, our local waterways continue to provide relaxing refuge for families and local wildlife alike.

This is the second year the BRRC, the local non-profit organization dedicated to watershed health, has partnered with students and teachers from Stemmer Run Middle School in cleanup efforts. This year, nearly 100 sixth-grade students partnered with BRRC volunteers for cleanup of hundreds of pounds of trash at Cox Point Park.

In addition to trash cleanup, students spent the day rotating between stations investigating factors of a healthy ecosystem. BRRC Executive Director Karen Wynn loved seeing how seriously the students and teachers took the activities. “They were able to experience and see first-hand some species of birds and learn about them from their wonderful science teachers, and they could see first-hand where the trash goes right into the bay,” she said.

Stemmers Run teacher Jason Adams believes that starting with our students is one of the best ways to help our environment. “We start with the lessons our science teachers are teaching in the classrooms, and then we continue learning with the trip students take to Camp Puh-tok, where students learn to identify the factors of a healthy ecosystem. Then, they continue with this, where they’re actively involved in a solution.”

BRRC President and local marina owner Sam Weaver was impressed with the kids’ efforts “It’s a beautiful park that people just don’t take care of, and the kids made a trashy park a beautiful place to visit,” he said.

As the students were cleaning up the park, Essex resident Mandy Bogdan visited the park with her one-year-old son, and was impressed with the difference that had been made. “We always see trash when we come to this park,” she said. “It’s nice to see the students here doing something about it.”

Wynn was equally impressed with the students’ efforts.  “It’s important for the kids and the schools to get involved because they are our future and if the kids get involved they get their parents involved and resolve some of these problems, ” she said.