Westbrook ES Habitat Restoration Project

Restoring Natural Habitat at Westbrook Elementary School

The Westbrook Forest and Stream Conservation Project is a long-term, multi-phase project intended to remove non-native and non-native invasive plants in the forest and along the stream on school property, plant and maintain native forest and riparian habitat, establish and maintain paths in the restored woods to support the school’s science and ecology curriculum, and create a self-guided tour around school property for learning tree and plant identification.

The plan is to target manageable sections of the area along the stream and in the woods for invasive plant removal and replanting with the available help of the fourth grade students, their parents and the larger community. Once this phase is largely complete, work on paths, plant identification labels, and self-guided tour educational materials will begin.

Project One - Completed!

Objective: The specific objective of this phase of the conservation project is to plant a native meadow in the area alongside the stream/culvert that the students, parents and community volunteers have begun to clear of invasive plants.

Methodology: As weather permits, the work of removing the invasive plants will continue.  In order to mitigate problems associated with re-growth of invasive plants from the existing seed bank in the cleared area, and to reduce watering demands, the area will be covered with a thick layer of donated mulch material. In late August/early September, grasses, wildflowers and tree saplings will be planted. The Fall planting was chosen to reduce plant loss due to hot dry weather. Watering capability is limited due to a lack of nearby water sources for hose irrigation. We seek the funds to purchase the grass and flower plants. Native tree saplings have been grown by the students from seed collected from trees in the area.

Project One Update:

October 19, 2010: From Lynnwood Andrews (Project Visionary):
All 874 plants are in the ground as of 12:30 this afternoon! I am mightily relieved. I have a little mulching to do, and I have to finish the fence, but I will do that Friday. It shouldn't take long. I was alarmed at the dryness of the soil today as I was planting, even after all the rain. About 2 inches down the soil is completely dry. With luck, today's rain will penetrate deeper.

874 native plants (grasses, black eyed susans, cone flowers and more) have replaced grass along the waterway by Westbrook Elementary School.   Thank you to everyone who came out the past two weekends to help with the planting.  Thank you to the Chesapeake Bay Trust for their support.  And thank you to the students at the ES who grew trees from seeds and planted them in the area as well as participated in the planting.  

If you haven't had a chance to check it out, go by the corner of Allen Terrace and Glen Cove Pkwy in Bethesda (right down hill from the Westbrook Elementary School). 

More information and pictures of building the meadow are HERE.

Restoration Partners

Westbrook Elementary School 4th grade Aqua Eagles program:
The fourth grade students and their Teacher, Mrs. Sandra Geddes, participate as volunteers removing invasive plants and planting native plants.

Westbrook Elementary School and local neighborhood: 
parents and siblings of the Aqua eagles, and members of the school and neighborhood also serve as volunteers to remove invasive plants and plant native plants.

Branches, ETC:
a local tree service company donated free mulch material.. 

John Snitzer of Snitzer Landscaping
served as a consultant on selecting appropriate native plants, providing access to wholesale plant material, and consultation on best planting practices.

American Plant a local nursery,  donated soil amendment products.   

Project made possible in part by a grant from the  Chesapeake Bay Trust