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Grant Program Helps Stream Restoration & Student Learning

"It allows the students to become so much more engaged in their learning you know they can read something out of a book but they're not seeing it, not feeling it," said Courtney Leard, Fountaindale Elementary School teacher.
WASHINGTON COUNTY, Md. - Fountaindale Elementary students planted the foundation for a better environment right in their own back yard.

It's a state wide Stream Restoration Challenge, a competitive grant program helping local governments and non-government organizations plant 1,000 acres of stream side forests by 2015.

"By planting trees along the stream you actually soak up into the roots system all the pollution and it actually helps shade the water, keeps it cold, improves habitats for fish, it gives the critters that live along the stream a place to live," said Alex Reed, a water shed specialist in Washington County.

More than 200 trees will be planted across five Washington County Public Schools with this restoration grant and 20 of them are making their home at Fountaindale Elementary School.

Teachers say this a project takes learning from inside the classroom to working directly in the environment.

"It allows the students to become so much more engaged in their learning you know they can read something out of a book but they're not seeing it, not feeling it," said Courtney Leard, Fountaindale Elementary School teacher. "When you really experience something you not only learn it but you're not going to forget it."

"They're the next generation for them to be able to have these trees grow up with them. They have a sense of ownership into the environment," said Reed.

And in the future, teachers want to continue more environmental programs.

"We're constantly finding ways to take this work and expand the work and make it so it has longevity because we want it to keep on going and keep on growing for years to come at Fountaindale," said Leard.

Over the next few days, about five acres of tress will be planted at five Washington County Public Schools.
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