Hollifield Station is Keeping on Track with Green Awareness
Green Empowerment - Giving children opportunities to take action on environmental concerns is to plant seeds of hope and power. ~ Chris Wright
Memorial Stadium Oyster Reef Project, Riparian Buffer Planting, and Patapsco River Clean Up
We stress energy conservation at school and at home, with students monitoring energy output and working with their families to cut down on wasteful use of electricity. Light sensors were installed in the restrooms as a result of the energy Team’s persuasive letter to Mr. Roey, HCPSS Executive Director of Facilities, Planning, and Management. Recently, Mrs. Speelman, our G/T Resource Teacher, presented to the Howard County Board of Education on sustainability. Our school was highlighted since our efforts have saved the county $25,000 in energy savings. Wow! That’s impressive! Teachers continue to turn out lights and power down on weekends and holidays. Custodians also play a huge part in energy conservation during their night shifts. Rooms that are not in use remain dark so that the wasteful use of fluorescent lighting is reduced. Helping increase the oyster population in the Chesapeake Bay has been a priority for our fifth grade students over the past six years. In John Smith's diary from 1608, he noted that the Bay was so abundant with oysters that it was difficult to navigate his ship. The oyster population at the beginning of the century could have filtered the entire Chesapeake in several days. Today it would take an entire year. As a result of learning why the oyster population was declining and how the oyster plays a vital role in the health and survival of the Bay, the students were compelled to take action. With the help of Sandy August and the Washington Suburban Sanitation Commission, a partnership was formed. Ms. August loaned HSES an oyster reef ball (ORB) mold and the rest was history. Over the past six years, Hollifield students have made 35 oyster reef balls. The students were very excited about being involved in this project. Ryan, a fifth grade student said, "This is my favorite project ever! I really feel like I am making a difference!" The project will continue as long as the partnership remains. The community also participated in making an ORB during our "Go Green" night in June of 2011.
Riparian Buffer/Tree Planting Project
Fifth grade students again took action to help restore the Chesapeake Bay by planting a riparian buffer. Students planted trees on the Howard County Parks and Recreation Farm in West Friendship, Maryland as part of the Millenium Stream Buffer: Patuxent River Project. Through a grant with the Chesapeake Bay Trust and in coordination with the HCPSS science department, transportation was provided so that students could plant 60 trees with Master Gardeners. The trees will act as a buffer and help with non-point source pollution, erosion, and the filtering of run off.
Patapsco River Clean Up
In April 2012, fifth grade students participated in a STEM day with the theme, "How can we help restore the health of the Bay?" Learning about the Chesapeake Bay watershed in science and Instructional seminars, students worked with the Friends of the Patapsco Heritage Greenway to remove garlic mustard, an invasive plant, and trash along the Patapsco River. Students also participated in a stream survey to determine the health of the river. Overall water quality effects which types of organisms can survive in a body of water. "Water quality" may include the amounts of dissolved oxygen and the levels of algal growth, pollutants which may be present and the pH level. Some macroinvertebrates such as stoneflies, mayflies and water pennies require a high level of dissolved oxygen and their abundance is an indication of good water quality. A hike and scavenger hunt in the Patapsco Park culminated the event. The students will again participate in this event on April 26, 2013. This year students will walk to the park, thus reducing our carbon footprint.
"Billy B" gets students excited about helping the Chesapeake Bay!
For several years HSES students have been entertained by "Billy B". In April of 2012, students learned about the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Billy B used an integrated sensory approach through song, dance, and audience participation to engage students in a journey into the “Ways of the Bay”. Students came away with a new appreciation of the abundance of life in the Bay as well as the important role it plays in their own lives. Students also learned positive actions they can take to help preserve and protect the Chesapeake Bay. This wonderful, energizing program was provided by the Cultural Arts Committee of the Hollifield P.T.A.