Eco-program back in action for fifth year

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One of Ms. Gump’s students moves a worm into its new home.

Just a few weeks into the school year and the environmental education program is in full swing. Here are some things Belvedere students have been up to during the first month of school:
Ms. Gump’s students explored an existing worm bin to learn about worms and how they compost dead plants and fruit and vegetables to make nutritious amendments for soil. The students then set up a second worm bin.

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A fourth-grader catches a salamander while on a watershed-related field trip at Hidden Oaks Nature Center.

The entire 4th grade took a field trip to   Hidden Oaks Nature Center to learn about local ecosystems, watersheds and why it’s important to keep our waterways free of pollution. The field trip was funded by a grant from Northrop Grumman. Several fourth-grade classes also practiced polluting and cleaning a watershed using a suitcase-sized model on loan from the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District.

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Students enthusiastically scrambled along the stream, looking for water striders, salamanders and crayfish.

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Students and Dr. Smith measuring the temperature of water samples, then figuring out what part of the world the sample could have come from based on a map showing ocean temperatures.

Fifth-graders learned about the oceans from Dr. Leslie Smith, an oceanographer visiting Belvedere for the third year in a row. The presentation included hands-on activities related to ocean temperature and salinity (salt volume).

Ms. Gump’s students added soil to their raised beds, then planted peas and spinach. Mr. Miner’s students planted lettuce, carrots and peas. Ms. Summer’s class planted donated transplants of kale, peas and broccoli. Deer enjoyed Ms. Gump’s peas, so Ms. Summer’s class also put a screen over the K/1 garden bed.

Look for screens over the other beds soon, as young deer have been spotted in the meadow almost every day this week!

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Mr. Miner’s and Ms. Brown’s class join forces to run hoses to the back of the playground, where the young trees are thirsty.

After many, many rain-less weeks, the classes of Ms. Brown and Mr. Miner joined forces to water our seedlings around the playground. They had to connect and string out three full hoses to get the water all the way behind the swings.

The Northern Virginia chapter of Trout Unlimited has delivered brook trout eggs to Ms. Gump’s classroom, where we are giving raising trout a go again. Many thanks to the Belvedere community, the Dominion K-12 Educational Partnership and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ 2015 eStore Grant program for funding our Trout in the Classroom program.

Many thanks to all the classes that have already been taking care of our grounds and gardens and to our community partners, who expand and enrich our educational opportunities.



One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Rosemary Martin on October 8, 2015 at 1:18 am

    Magnificent program!


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