Students worked together to plant their trees.

Orchard Students Making a Difference: Building a Riparian Buffer

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Thursday May 30, 2013

Guess what happened when two great classes collaborated to help the environment!  The hardworking and caring third graders from Mr. Schmidt’s and Mrs. Gurwicz’s classes at Orchard School created something very special to make the river healthier and keep the soil together so that it doesn’t wash away into the river.  What did we do?  We made a riparian buffer!

Lauren Chicote, an AmeriCorps Environmental Educator with the Winooski Valley Park District at Ethan Allen Homestead helped our classes plant trees along the Winooski River to build a riparian buffer.  When it rains, parts of the river’s edge may erode.  When there are trees along the land by the edge of the river,  pollution and mud will be filtered and stabilized.  Our classes worked with Lauren and two UVM environmental studies interns, Teresa and Alex, to plant silky dogwood, silver maple, and box elder trees to do the job. 

We planted the trees step by step.  First, we raked away all of the grass where we wanted to plant the trees.  Next, we dug our holes.  We chose a tree to plant in our group’s hole.  We chose a tree to go into just the right place.  We filled in around the tree while a partner held it in place.  We were careful not to pat the soil down too much.  We wanted to make sure the roots could get enough air and water.  Lastly, our interns put chicken wire around the trees to keep animals away while the trees grow strong.  Watering was planned for later, just after we had to leave.

Our classes were amazed to find that we had planted over thirty trees!  Lauren, Teresa, Alex, our para, Kelly, and student teacher, Miss Taylor, told us they were impressed with the enthusiasm we all showed and how hard we worked.  Mrs. Gurwicz, Mr. Schmidt, and our two classes were proud of all that we had accomplished!

So far, the trees are all looking pretty good.  We will check on them from time to time.  Next time you go to Ethan Allen Homestead, walk along the trails.  We hope you notice the new, young riparian buffer along the riverside.  Be sure to stop, look around, and listen to the birds.  We did!  Be respectful of this natural habitat.  This area is open to the public.  We want everyone to go out and enjoy nature.

From the third grade classrooms of  Mrs. Gurwicz and Mr. Schmidt Ava Laroche, Luke Fitzgerald, Hope Brunet, Nic Larrabee, and Sriram Sethuraman