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Green Living

Shady Side fifth-graders saving the Bay one handful of spat at a time

Some Southern Anne Arundel County students are taking the adage bloom where you’re planted more than a few steps further. Fifth-graders at Shady Side Elementary are planting oysters to help restore the Bay’s oyster population.     “We need oysters to clean the Bay,” said Lacey Wilde, 11, the daughter and granddaughter of working watermen.

Agricultural program grows at Phoenix Academy

Next time you cruise down Cedar Park Road in Annapolis during school hours, you may well do a double-take as you pass the field next to Phoenix Academy. You’re likely to see rabbits munching greens in a sturdily built hutch, hear nanny goats bleating or glimpse teens carefully weeding a row of curly-leafed kale. Three years after a Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education was launched at this K-12 Anne Arundel County public school, there’s plenty of evidence that impressive hands-on learning is going on both within and outside the school walls.

They’re out to trap cast-off ­monofilament line

Girl Scouts Noel Pockey and Ashley Whicher are working to save the Bay from used fishing line.     When anglers toss line torn from their reel, the unbreakable and almost invisible plastic monofilament a death warrant to critters. The line ensnares animals, birds and fish, trapping the life out of them. The entangled fishing line continues its havoc, putting swimmers and boat propellers at risk — until it finally degrades 500 years later.

But not so great for forests

Robins and sparrows sing the praises of our unending rain. Their beaks and bellies are filled with wriggling worms.     Earthworms surface as wet conditions make easy work of relocating. No, worms don’t come up to escape drowning. They are capable of surviving several days submerged.     The vibration of raindrops sounds like the predatory rumble of moles looking for a snack, causing the worms to head for the surface, where fishermen and hungry birds find them. Some birds have shifted to eating an earthworm-only diet.

As the South Riverkeeper, I am ­helping to make the river healthy for my children and yours

Not too long ago, I was working in consumer-protection litigation. After law school, I took a job suing banks and shady lenders on behalf of consumers. That wasn’t where I really wanted to be.     In law school at the University of Maryland, I had earned a certificate of concentration in environmental law. When I graduated in 2010, environmental law jobs weren’t as plentiful as I had hoped. So I sued banks instead.

Having fun, making a difference and driving the pump-out boat
 

Almost a year ago, the West/Rhode Riverkeeper completed a living shoreline project at the end of the Camp Letts peninsula on the Rhode River. Over the past few decades, the land had been eroding from storms, boat wake and sea level rise. Hundred-year-old trees were toppling over a sandy bluff, and the silt made the water look like a soy latte.

Churches on a mission to save the Bay

Yes, we’ll gather at the river, The beautiful, the beautiful river; Gather with the saints at the river That flows by the throne of God. –Hymn by Robert Lowry  

Roadside buffers trap pollution in their roots

It’s not too early for planting trees — especially when you’ve got the digging power of the Maryland State Highway Administration. They’re busy planting roadside buffers of 8,700 trees in Anne Arundel County. Deciduous and evergreen in mixed rows, those trees will improve the health of the Chesapeake watershed by capturing pollution-producing nitrogen and phosphorus in their root systems.

The Bay’s 19 riverkeepers are part of a worldwide force of 275

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not. –Dr. Seuss: The Lorax
  

Smithsonian Environmental Research ­Center in for the long haul

If you’ve ever planted a tree in your back yard, you’ve experienced the thrill of watching it grow from a ­knobby sapling into a towering oak or weeping willow. Multiply that by 20,000, and you’ll have some idea what Smithsonian ecologist John Parker is doing in his experimental forest in Edgewater.     It’s called BiodiversiTree, and the project is designed to last a century. On March 15, Parker explains the project in a Smithsonian Environmental Research Center evening lecture.