Students take their lessons outside

November 09, 1992|By Amy P. Ingram | Amy P. Ingram,Contributing Writer

Kevin Schieman, 12, doesn't think society is taking good care of the environment.

Which explains why he and about 20 Arundel Middle School students volunteered their time Saturday to clean up Tower's Branch, a 100-acre property adjacent to the school.

Arundel Middle School is working with the Department of Recreation and Parks to create the county's first "outdoor classroom."

"I like helping out the natural habitat," said Schieman, who lives in Gambrills.

The school received about $3,400 from the Chesapeake Bay Trust to purchase 10 yards of mulch to lay a path, wood for stairs and benches, plus various tools and equipment.

Coordinators Tolly Peuleche, environmental director of the Department of Recreation and Parks, and Doreen Koke, science teacher at Arundel Middle, organized the volunteers, which included students, teachers, community members and department workers.

They designed five different cleanup and construction projects for the Tower's Branch area. One of the projects was putting up six benches around an open area where students can sit for their lesson.

"We want students to visualize," Mrs. Koke said. "I will bring my classes out here, so they can apply what they know and begin to solve problems on their own."

Tolly Peuleche has worked for several years trying to get schools more involved with the environment. "I want schools to make use of our natural areas," she said. "I'd love to see at least one school a year adopt a natural project like this."

Student Richie Boyd, who lives in Odenton, was responsible for testing and studying the phosphates in the waters of Tower's Stream, which leads directly into the Patuxent River.

"I don't think we're taking care of our waters," said 12 year-old Richie, looking at all the trash and other debris strewn about. "Just look at all the junk in there."

Other projects Saturday included installing timber steps to prevent further soil erosion along the steep grade, and removing debris and brush to create a natural path leading to the work stations and open classroom area.

Debbie Freeland, a resident of Odenton and parent of an Arundel Middle School student, helped out by planting ferns along the stream to help stop some of the erosion.

"I think this is something that needs to be done," she said. "My child was extremely enthusiastic about the project, and I think it will help her learn a little bit better to actually see what's going on in the environment."

Ms. Peuleche and Mrs. Koke were excited about Saturday's turnout.

"I was a little doubtful in the beginning," Ms. Peuleche said, "but it's turned out better than I thought it would."

More than 40 people helped, and they were finished within three hours.

Principal Cliff Prince said he was pleased with the show of good faith between the school and the community. "It's obvious they believe in what's happening," he said.

Mr. Prince also said he believes in the project. "It's so important to bring relevance to the students," he said. "They study in a vacuum in a typical classroom. Now it's time for a hands-on approach."

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.