Noticing a puddling “mud hole” on campus, sixth graders at Charles Town Middle School took action to extend their rain garden, fixing the puddles with native garden plants.
After experiencing pooling water in the school’s courtyard, (which staff coined the “mud hole” as students continuously tracked mud into the school), sixth grade teacher Stephanie Diamond contacted Cacapon Institute for help. In 2013, Cacapon Institute helped Charles Town Middle install a rain garden and rain cisterns to mitigate flooding in the courtyard. In 2019, stormwater issues returned as the sidewalk prevented water from sinking into the ground. These impermeable surfaces prevent absorption of rainwater and create flooding issues like the “mud hole”. Cacapon Institute assisted by removing a concrete slab from the sidewalk and tilling the soil to increase the amount of water that would sink into the ground.
Students were engaged through four classroom lessons on watershed pollution and how rain gardens and other stormwater BMPs can improve river health and habitat. After the lessons, one-hundred eight students helped to plant over 100 rain garden flowers and shrubs in the newly formed garden. These will help to fix the “mud hole” and provide habitat to native wildlife, including monarchs that the sixth graders hatched from caterpillars in the fall.
Cacapon Institute would like to thank Stephanie Diamond and the sixth graders of Charles Town Middle School for the partnership to protect rivers and watersheds.