Hollifield Station is Keeping on Track with Green Awareness
Top 5 Accomplishments HSES Builds Wildlife Habitat and Bird Garden
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has," noted anthropologist Margaret Mead. Following in the spirit of Margaret Mead, Hollifield Station Elementary School brought together a group of thoughtful and committed community members who are indeed changing the world -- one student at a time.
On October 23, 2010, our vision to create a schoolyard habitat and bird sanctuary was successfully completed. Approximately 150 people consisting of school parents, students, staff, administration, community members, a local Boy and Girl Scout Troop, students from Patapsco Middle and Mt. Hebron High schools, one English as a Second Language class from Howard County Community College and Lowe's Home Improvement store employees built the school’s first outdoor classroom and bird garden. Embedded within the habitat, an outdoor classroom was created that included picnic tables, a theater style classroom with log benches and a retractable whiteboard, bird feeders, a bird blind, and landscaping. Certified in 2009 as a Maryland Green School, Hollifield Station staff and P.T.A. wanted to continue the journey of providing authentic learning that incorporates local environmental best practices and community stewardship. Funded by a Lowe’s Toolbox for Education Grant worth $4,500 and community partnerships, the dream was realized.
HSES Saves the Howard County Public School System $25,000 in Energy Savings!
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 had saved the county $25,000 in energy savings over a three year period. 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 vacant remain dark so that the wasteful use of fluorescent lighting is reduced.
STEM Day at HSES has an Environmental Theme
On Earth Day 2012, teachers planned and implemented their first Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Day with an environmental theme. All grade levels participated in multidisciplinary instruction as they solved local environmental problems. Kindergarten students made signs and a service announcement to get the community to clean up after their dogs in the outdoor classroom, while first graders studied the basic needs of plants which culminated in the creation of a butterfly garden. As a result of losing a lot of seed to our furry diners (squirrels) in our bird garden, fourth grade students researched and designed squirrel proof bird feeders. Second Graders learned about the life cycle of the butterflies and how to protect them. Third graders designed ways to collect rain water to reuse in our garden plots and fifth graders participated in a Patapsco River Clean up. This fabulous day definitely left everyone with strong feelings of peace and love for our beautiful Mother Earth!
Oyster Restoration Project
With the help of Sandy August and the Washington Suburban Sanitation Commission, fifth grade students create oyster reef balls to help restore the oyster population in the Chesapeake Bay. Faced with a declining supply of oyster shells and an increased demand for oyster reefs, scientists are exploring a new way to provide habitat: prefabricated oyster homes. The homes in this case are “reef balls” made from concrete poured into fiberglass molds. When popped from the molds and placed on the Bay’s bottom, they provide a raised, solid surface on which oyster larvae, or “spat,” can attach and grow.
Earth Force Team - Student Environmental Seminar
The Earth Force team was created in the year 2006 as a result of the students' increased awareness on the impact of recycling. Over the years, the Earth Force Team has evolved and has been in several grade levels as an environmental Instructional Seminar in the enrichment program at HSES. The Earth Force Team is now a fifth grade environmental seminar that continues to research community issues and meet with experts in order to develop a strategy for civic action. In the past, students have planned a Community Go-Green Night, March Madness Magazine drives, conducted energy audits, and created PowerPoint presentations to inform the staff and the community about energy conservation and recycling practices. Earth Force members also help to maintain the outdoor classroom and butterfly gardens. For the past two years, the students have focused mainly on the health of the Chesapeake Bay. Aboard the Skipjack, Chesapeake Bay instructors teach the students about the health of the Bay through hands on investigations and inquiry. Earth Force members connect their new knowledge to the Patapsco River, a local tributary, and take action by participating in a stream clean up with the help of volunteers from the Patapsco Heritage Greenway.