Guest blog by Madison Comey, senior, and Chang-Sookyung, teacher, Saint Basil Academy.
On November 12, 2015 twenty-one Saint Basil Academy (SBA) students planted a creekside buffer of young trees on the grounds of Manor College, after a short training by Alex Cooper, TTF Community Watershed Specialist. Despite the light sprinkle of rain, girls in music, biology and horticulture spent one or two block periods planting 44 young native trees and protecting them from deer. This group was composed of all grades at SBA. Mrs. Kenny, an SBA biology teacher and Ms. Chang, the SBA chemistry and horticulture teacher also had a great time outdoors.
Because it had been raining overnight, the ground was easier for digging and the trees did not require additional water once in the ground, which made less work for the students. The protective gloves got really dirty and muddy, and many shoes and socks got wet, but everyone was happy to take better care of the neighborhood and the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed! In order to protect the new trees from the local deer population, temporary fences were created using tall wooden stakes and plastic netting. Eventually these trees will have an important role in reducing the storm runoff water from Manor College into the Jenkintown Creek, especially after the installation of a rain garden near them.
The following week, the only student in horticulture, Madison Comey, a senior at SBA, and her teacher spent 3 more class periods planting the rest of trees. As they returned to the area each day, they noticed right away how the birds were enjoying the new structures; little birds were visiting different fences, perching themselves briefly on the plastic nettings. The new trees were already attracting all kinds of life in their new home.
ThIs project was funded through the Delaware River Restoration Fund, a partnership between the Open Space Institute and the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, with major funding from the William Penn Foundation as well as the TreeVitalize Watershed Grant program, managed by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Growing Greener program.
Check out this blog by TTF Project Manager Susan Harris for more information on the TTF Jenkintown Creek project, which included the creation of the buffer at the Sisters of Saint Basil and a rain garden at Manor College, as well as a buffer and rain garden at Abington Friends School. You can read a student’s perspective on the Abington Friends School project here. Watch for news about a spring ribbon cutting at the new buffer and rain garden!