The seventh grade at Leonard Middle School in Old Town is gearing up and getting excited to launch our Nonpoint Source Pollution project on Pushaw Lake! With support from the Natural Resource Council of Maine, we were graciously awarded one of the grants through the Engaging Maine Middle School Students in Protecting the Nature of Maine program.
As the weather outside is still frigid and snowy, we will start by introducing our students to the LakeSmart program. LakeSmart is a free education program for land owners, that was established through the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. We will be using the principles from LakeSmart to evaluate our potential work sites that we will focus on during our project. The Maine DEP says, “The primary focus of LakeSmart is to keep our lake water clean by stabilizing eroding areas, reducing the use of chemicals, diverting rainwater into vegetated areas, and maintaining or planting trees, shrubs, and ground cover along the shore land. Landscaping and managing your property in an environmentally friendly manner through LakeSmart is one way for you to help your lake and have a low-maintenance, great-looking property.”
In partnership with The Greater Pushaw Lake Association, we will have our students evaluate properties along the lakeshore looking for potential residential sites that have one or more erosion issue that can be reconciled with using some of principles our students learned through LakeSmart. When our students have identified a site and a problem, been given landowner permission, and drafted a solution, those students will then implement their plan.
In order to build a solid background for our students, we will be starting our erosion and deposition unit. After gaining an understanding of weathering, erosion, and deposition, students will then be able to test their knowledge through multiple hands on activities. One of these activities will be done through using models to test different erosion solutions. After several tests, the hope is that students will be able to find the solution which is the best fit for controlling erosion issues.
We are excited to get our students broken up into groups that play on their skills and passions, and to expose them to the many different ways they can have a positive impact on their community and our environment!
—Drew McLaren, Melissa Zabierek, Hannah Dickinson, Leonard Middle School 7th Grade Teachers
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